At a recent technical meeting I met a colleague with whom I’ve spoken from time to time. He is from India and has been working on an H-1 visa after getting his Masters degree at a state university here in the U.S. He, his wife, and his children have been here together for thirteen years, and consider this country their home.

Now, because of the economic crisis, he is having a hard time finding work to keep his visa active. He told me that if he cannot find work within a couple of weeks, he will have to return to India. This would be a huge, sudden, and unwelcome upheaval for his family.

It struck me that this is an a side of the economic crisis that has not been discussed much. While many of us are suffering in other ways, very few of us risk losing our adopted country. And, while one could argue that, as a guest worker, he should have known that his welcome might end, is he really more guilty of unrealistic optimism (or, as Alan Greenspan put it, irrational exuberance) than the rest of us?