Promising Movement on Immigration Reform

Good things may come to those who wait… but more often good things come to those who work hard and push year after year for change. That appears to be the case on immigration reform. The Bay Area Council has been pushing hard for years to produce sensible immigration reform that recognizes the huge unmet demand in the tech sector and other vital California industries for qualified workers. And in the past week there appeared to be considerable bi-partisan movement for a comprehensive approach to reforming federal immigration policy. Among the important reforms being discussed are:

  • Nearly double the number of H-1B visas, with a “market-based” system that can provide further increases when warranted by economic and labor conditions.
  • Unlimited number of green cards for foreign graduates of American universities who earn advanced STEM degrees.
  • Allow temporary immigrants to more easily change jobs without jeopardizing their status.

These changes can’t come soon enough. While America’s top universities are brimming with foreign PhD students—generally the smartest and most motivated of their home countries—under our current immigration system we start to push them back out of the country as soon as they complete their education and are ready to make their most powerful scientific, technical, entrepreneurial, and economic contributions. The immigration system is similarly unwelcoming to seasoned professionals; rather than welcoming their contributions to American economic leadership, our immigration system encourages them to remain at home, or in a more welcoming foreign country that is receptive to their contributions. To engage with us in our immigration reform work, contact Michael Cunningham.

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