June 10, 2013
The Christian Science Monitor, 6/8/2013
Tucked into immigration reform legislation in both chambers of Congress are little-noticed measures that could pump hundreds of millions of dollars into cultivating a new generation of American students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM). Such a move could help shore up what much of corporate America and many lawmakers see as a glaring deficiency in the nation’s long-term economic competitiveness.
The bills offer at least $200 million per year (but perhaps as much as $700 million, advocates say) by channeling fees from high-skilled visas into investments in STEM education and job training. Specifically, legislators would increase the fee that employers pay to sponsor high-skilled temporary workers (visas known as H-1Bs) and direct $1,000 of that bump toward a special “STEM fund.” The fund would also be supported by an additional $1,000 cost to employers looking to sponsor H-1B workers for permanent residence in the United States.
June 7, 2013
By Rosario Marin, The Wall Street Journal, 6/6/2013
I have lived the American dream, which began when I was born in Mexico. My family and I immigrated to the U.S. on my father’s work visa when I was 14 years old, and I later served as the 41st treasurer of the United States—the only treasurer born outside of the U.S. Since its founding, America has grown stronger, and its companies more competitive, by attracting the best and brightest from around the world. So it’s a relief to see Congress finally beginning to act on immigration reform.
The key issue is improving mechanisms for legal immigration by people who will contribute to the nation’s prosperity. Unfortunately, the compromise bill that emerged from the Judiciary Committee that the Senate intends to take up next week contains provisions that would turn away some of the most highly educated people. Barring them threatens our future economic growth. The current skilled-labor shortage—particularly for workers in science, technology, engineering and math occupations—puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage. By 2020, an estimated 1.5 million jobs will go unfilled, according to McKinsey & Co. Until America can educate enough graduates in these fields to meet the demand, legal immigration is the only option to find the necessary talent.
March 19, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 3/18/2013
A Senate hearing Monday drew attention to competing philosophies on immigration overhaul: boosting the economy or reuniting families. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, immigration advocates defended programs allowing immigrants to bring extended family members to the U.S., including adult siblings or adult children. Such programs often have long waiting lists, and recently Republicans in both the House and Senate have suggested that they want to eliminate some of those categories.
“Children will always be our children whether they’re over the age of 21 or not,” said Mee Moua, chief executive of the Asian American Justice Center and one of the witnesses at Monday’s hearing. “For us to start thinking about which members of our family we’re going to trade away is a dramatic and drastic departure from the core values of what has been driving this country since the founding days.”