“To help left-behind U.S. workers, U.S. needs to welcome high-skilled immigrants”

3/14/2017
Dallas News


“…For the most part over the course of the last 40 years, through Democratic and Republican presidents alike, our country embraced…expanding trade markets and enabling our nation's companies to lead the world in innovation.

“True to the roots of our country, much of that innovation and success can be attributed to the work of incredibly talented individuals and entrepreneurs, both American and foreign-born, who risked their livelihoods in pursuit of the American dream.

“…As we have seen in the past few decades, high-skilled immigrants offer tremendous opportunity for the American economy. Several Fortune 100 companies, and many bustling tech giants, are headed by immigrants -- and the long-term benefits to the U.S. of welcoming the best and brightest are clear. Through their work, our economy finds new ways to innovate and creates more business for our companies so that new jobs can replace work that is no longer economically feasible.

“High-skilled, specialized immigration has led to a growth in jobs for all Americans and has pushed our lawmakers to pursue policies that focus on retraining workers and promoting science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education among our own students. We are now finally starting to produce the workforce needed in this 21st century economy, but it is not yet enough.

“Despite the hard work being done to educate and produce our own pool of highly specialized talent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a need for approximately 1 million more STEM professionals over the next decade than our nation can produce. That means the only solution is to welcome additional talent from abroad. If we fail to fill these positions in the short term, our tech industry will fail to grow -- or even be forced to move abroad to accommodate their thirst for global talent, leaving our own future STEM graduates struggling to find work.

“Exacerbating our difficulties is the fact that we are showing the door to thousands of STEM graduates who attend our universities by making it almost impossible for them to immigrate to the U.S. after getting their degree. Given that we are already investing resources in them, a high-skilled worker visa should come stapled with a STEM degree.

“…Americans agree that we need to welcome in top talent…This issue must be treated separately from the other facets of immigration reform. Surely our immigration system must be overhauled…but grouping support for tightening and enforcing current immigration laws into this issue is not smart policymaking.

“The president has committed to restarting the engine of the American economy, by ‘making it easier for companies to do business in the United States.’ We must also ensure that promise encompasses our businesses' ability to innovate and compete in this 21-century global economy. That requires us to pursue and welcome those who bring the skills needed to achieve and jump-start our economy.”

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