In the era of Trump, it appears that even common sense is controversial.

Just before the New Year, the Obama administration issued regulations that would make it easier for foreign students graduating from American universities to stay and work in the United States through a number of visa programs. Instead of recognizing the inherent logic of this proposal, the administration’s initiative drew a bipartisan chorus of opposition – claiming that the move was a threat to ‘white-collar’ American jobs.

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Sadly, this hysteria neither reflects the reality of this proposal nor the boon these workers provide the American economy. Instead of succumbing to crass nativism, we need to redouble our commitment high skilled immigration in general, and the H-1B visa program in particular, as a way to keep our economy growing.

It’s frightening how frequently it seems we need to remind one another of our basic principles as a country. America became the beacon of freedom and prosperity it is today because we have always welcomed the most enterprising people from around the world to our shores. Yet, even as high skilled immigrants found and run some of our most innovative companies, our policymakers refuse to recognize how important they are to our economy.

Contrary to the falsehoods propagated by H-1B opponents, these visas have a meaningful impact on wage growth for American workers. According to a 2014 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that surveyed 219 U.S. metropolitan areas from 1990-2010 found that every percentage increase in the number of high skilled immigrants increased the wages of college graduates in the area by 7-8 percent and the wages of non-college educated workers by 3-4 percent. This is particularly meaningful at a time when wage growth remains persistently flat.

Critics also neglect to recognize the economic impact of the tax revenue high skilled immigrants generate every year. According to a study from the American Enterprise Institute and the Partnership for a New American Economy, foreign-born adults pay an average of $7,826 in income taxes every year. This figure jumps to an average of $13,039 for immigrants with a bachelor’s degree and $22,554 for immigrants with an advanced degree. And if you estimate that around 750,000 H-1B workers with at least a bachelor’s degree live and work in the United States – high skilled immigrants generate over nearly $10 billion in income tax alone. And this number does not account for the hundreds of millions of dollars these immigrants generate in Social Security, Medicare, local, and sales taxes every year.

High skilled immigrants are also coming to the United States to fill critical needs in our education and medical sectors. A recent report in the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, for example, noted how high skilled immigrants were helping to address the state’s acute teachers’ shortage. Like many states including mine, Mississippi had a particularly difficult time finding qualified teachers – and specialists in particular – to fill vacancies in the poorer, more rural parts of the state. Mississippi has successfully used the H-1B program to recruit high skilled immigrants – some of whom have as many as four advanced degrees – to fill critical openings in speech pathology, special education and mathematics.

High skilled immigrants are also playing an important role in helping to solve the acute shortage of qualified medical professionals around the country. At a time when state laws are permitting recent medical school graduates without residency training to see primary care patients, high skilled immigration is helping to bring highly qualified doctors to patients that need them. If the anti-immigrant hysteria caucus got its way, these doctors would be staying in their home countries rather than treating patients in ours.

High skilled immigrants are also driving innovation in the information technology industry, where a lack of STEM graduates are making it impossible for American companies to hire the workers they need to power the future.

It’s time for American policymakers to reject nativism and redouble our commitment to high skilled immigration. Opening the door to computer scientists, special educators, and doctors will help grow our nation’s tax base, address critical societal challenges, and pave the way for the next great American technological innovation. Surely, in America it is still possible for common sense to prevail.

Richardson was governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011. He was U.S. Secretary of Energy from 1998 to 2001, U.S. ambassador to the UN from 1997 to 1998, and served in the House from 1983 to 1997.