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Navigating Immigration Reform: Employer Solutions for Practicable, Effective Reforms

Op-eds and Editorials

A Different Side to the H-1B Debate
FOX News 

Technological innovation is the cornerstone of the American economy, and increasingly, of the rest of the modern world. But as economic advancement relies more and more on the skills of the global talent pool, American immigration policies that fail to keep pace with the mechanisms of innovation are hamstringing the very businesses driving the bulk of our economic progress.
Op-ed by Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico and member of the House of Representatives. He also served as Secretary of Energy and Ambassador to the UN during the Clinton Administration.
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Immigration is Vital for Innovation
The Hill 
While it’s no surprise that immigration policy remains at the forefront of political debate, conversations on this important topic often bypass the impact of policy on business in the U.S. For manufacturing, the topic of immigration and skills shortages are a topic that we must work to solve if this important business sector is to continue to thrive. Currently, more than 80 percent of employers report moderate to severe difficulty in finding talented workers with the skills and experience necessary for the job. Not enough students are exploring the industry as a viable career option. 
Blog Post by Bryan Iams, Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs at PPG Industries.
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Turning Away Foreign Talent — A Costly Practice for U.S. Competitiveness
The Hill 
… The national conversation sparked by Trump’s controversial foray into the presidential race has added to my growing concern that we as a country are drifting far off-course regarding immigration, seeing only trees in a vast, vast forest. The world economy is rapidly changing, and our immigration laws are not keeping time with economic progress at great detriment to the future of the United States. Our immigration system needs to be reformed to address the needs of our industries, whether for low or high-skilled people. Certainly there is a fight going on for American businesses to hire the highly skilled individuals they need to keep competitive in the increasingly digital economy, a fight that we are losing.
Blog Post by Rosario Marin, Co-Chairwoman of the American Competitiveness Alliance.
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Immigration Laws Should Strengthen U.S., Not Its Rivals
The Hill 
Yesterday marked the close of the five-day filing period when U.S. companies could apply for H-1B visas to bring high-skilled workers from around the world to work here next year.  The annual cap was exceeded in those few days, and a lottery will be held to determine which workers will be admitted.  This is one of many reasons the United States -- long seen as a welcoming environment for the best and brightest from all over the world to innovate, start a new business, and become the next American success story – is falling behind in the global race for talent.  A sobering new report released by the Business Roundtable shows how far America has fallen.
Op-ed by Greg Brown, Chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions.
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A Way Out on Immigration Reform
New York Times 
The goal of fixing our broken immigration system is further away than ever. President Obama’s executive orders — which would allow up to five million of about 11 million illegal immigrants to stay in this country — have been challenged in the courts, and Republicans, a majority in the new Congress, have held up appropriations and confirmations in retaliation. Neither side is ready to compromise. But the failure to fix our immigration laws is not an exclusively Republican or Democratic failure. Just as we created the problem together, we must solve it together. There is one way to start: Mandate E-Verify for all employers — and make it the vehicle for legalizing unauthorized workers.
Op-ed by Alan K. Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wyoming (1979 to 1997), and Bruce A. Morrison, former Democratic Representative from Connecticut (1983 to 1991).
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How Immigration Benefits America's Middle Class
The Hill 
Opponents of immigration reform in Congress insist that repealing the president's actions will not only roll back executive overreach, but also benefit the middle class. More legal workers, they claim, have led to stagnant wages. But they are wrong. Since 1980, Americans have faced less competition for jobs from new workers — foreign and domestic.
Blog Post by David Bier, who leads the Immigration Policy Department at the Niskanen Center.
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Immigration Source of Economic Opportunity
USA Today

The history of the United States has been built on the stories of immigrants who came to this country with little more than a strong work ethic and the desire for a better life. Just like many Americans, my own family made their way to the U.S. in search of greater opportunity and freedoms. My great-grandfather was dirt poor at the age of 10 when his family fled oppression in Ukraine, bound for the United States. He taught himself English, worked several jobs, earned his legal degree at night, and opened a law practice at the age of 30.
Op-ed by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
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The Self-Inflicted U.S. Brain Drain
Wall Street Journal (Column by Michael Malone)

The process of bringing skilled immigrants to the U.S. via H-1B visas and putting them on the path to eventual citizenship has been a political football for at least a decade. It has long been bad news for those immigrants trapped in this callous process. Now the U.S. economy is beginning to suffer, too. Every year, tens of thousands of disappointed tech workers and other professionals give up while waiting for a resident visa or green card, and go home—having learned enough to start companies that compete with their former U.S. employers. The recent historic success of China’s Alibaba IPO is a reminder that a new breed of companies is being founded, and important innovation taking place, in other parts of the world. More than a quarter of all patents filed today in the U.S. bear the name of at least one foreign national residing here.
Column by Michael Malone.
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Break the Immigration Impasse 
New York Times  
American citizens are paying 535 people to take care of the legislative needs of the country. We are getting shortchanged. Here’s an example: On June 10, an incumbent congressman in Virginia lost a primary election in which his opponent garnered only 36,105 votes. Immediately, many Washington legislators threw up their hands and declared that this one event would produce paralysis in the United States Congress for at least five months. In particular, they are telling us that immigration reform — long overdue — is now hopeless. Americans deserve better than this. 
Op-ed by Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Bill Gates, Former Chairman and CEO of Microsoft.
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American Competitiveness Can’t Wait for Immigration Reform



Skilled international workers, tired of waiting, often leave the U.S. and put their knowledge and skills to use elsewhere. Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd of business leaders this month that “something’s wrong with us” when America must look overseas to fill critical jobs requiring science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. 

Op-ed by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Rosario Marin, 41st Treasurer of the United States. 

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Saying 'No Thanks' to 87,500 High-Skill Workers
Wall Street Journal 
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that if holders of H-1B visas for high-skill foreign workers are being sponsored for a green card by their employers, then their spouses will be able to work in the U.S. That's nice for those families, but the news didn't begin to address the real problem with the administration's H-1B visa policy: There aren't nearly enough visas. On April 1 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was deluged with 172,500 applications for H-1B visas that became available that day. But there were twice as many applications as spaces available because Congress allows only 85,000 of the three-year visas to be issued annually. Given that the application fee ranges between $1,575 and $2,500, if the average fee is $2,000, when the U.S. sends rejections to 87,500 H-1B applicants it will also be refunding about $175 million. In other words, the U.S. will be saying: Thanks for all that cash, and thanks for offering to bring your talents to this country, but no thanks. 
Martin Lawler and Margaret Stock are immigration lawyers and authors of "Professional: A Matter of Degree," fifth edition, published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2009. 

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Immigrants Working While They Wait 
New York Times 
The Department of Homeland Security announced proposed rule changes this week to allow the spouses of some highly skilled temporary workers to hold jobs in the United States, and to remove some of the obstacles that make it difficult for some groups of highly skilled workers to remain here. That’s very good news for some of the tens of thousands of temporary immigrants, particularly those from China, India and the Philippines, who come to work in science, engineering and related fields under the H1B visa program. In many cases these workers’ spouses have similar educations and skills, but under current law they are forbidden to hold jobs themselves. That makes living in the United States harder on these families, and allows the spouses’ technical skills and career prospects to languish. 
Lawrence Downes is a member of the New York Times Editorial Board. 

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Time to Update H-1B Visa Program
Wall Street Journal 
Regarding Matthew Slaughter's "How America Loses a Job Every 43 Seconds" (op-ed, March 26): Thanks to Mr. Slaughter for highlighting how our broken immigration policy for skilled workers hampers our economy. As he points out, April 1 marked the first day that companies could apply for H-1B visa petitions for 2015. The problem is that there are far fewer slots available than demand, which is why it is estimated that the time frame to file a petition will close in a matter of days. This imbalance between supply and demand is the result of poor policy that has kept the number of available H-1B visas static during the last decade. It's been capped at 85,000 since 2004.
Senator Michael Bennet is from Colorado and a member of the Democratic party.
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How America Loses a Job Every 43 Seconds
Wall Street Journal
The first of next month is a big day for the U.S., and not because it's April Fools' Day. April 1 is when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services begins accepting new H-1B visa petitions for 2015. An H-1B visa allows a company to create a new job for a highly-educated foreigner in the U.S. for at least three years. The H-1B program, which accounts for nearly all of America's skilled immigration, imposes an annual cap of 85,000 new visas: 65,000 with at least a bachelor's degree and 20,000 with at least a master's degree.
Matthew Slaughter is a Professor and Associate Dean at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
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Time for High-Skilled Immigration Reform
As immigration reform bogs down once again in the nation's capital, there is at least one area where both sides should be able to come together for some meaningful, near-term action. That is focusing on the untapped potential of the hundreds of thousands of skilled men and women who have already come to the United States — many of them from Asia, particularly China and India — through legal channels. Unfortunately, this issue has generally been overlooked amid the focus on the flow of unauthorized, low-skilled immigrants into the United States, and the pleas of some high-tech companies for more visas that would allow them to hire additional employees from overseas with specialized skills. The language of immigration today also is increasingly politicized, adding little to a constructive discussion: Illegal vs. undocumented. Amnesty vs. a path to citizenship.
Curtis Chin served as U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
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More Immigration Means More Jobs for Americans
Wall Street Journal
Immigrants represent 13% of the U.S. population but account for nearly 20% of small businesses owners. Immigrant-owned small businesses employed nearly five million Americans in 2010 and generated an estimated $776 billion in revenue, according to a June 2012 study from the Fiscal Policy Institute. The Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan group of more than 500 business leaders and mayors, has found that more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or a child of immigrants. Immigrants also launch half of the nation's top startups, and research by the Kauffman Foundation has established that startups account for virtually all net new job creation. … The net result of immigrants' innovation and entrepreneurship is job creation. This effect is most pronounced for immigrants with advanced degrees from U.S. universities working in science and technology fields. According to a study by the American Enterprise Institute, between 2000 and 2007 each group of 100 foreign-born workers with such backgrounds was associated with 262 additional American jobs.
John Dearie is executive vice president at the Financial Services Forum, and Ms. Geduldig is vice president of global regulatory affairs at Standard & Poor's.
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To Fix Immigration, Improve U.S. Education and Link Visas to Employer Needs
For immigration reform to be considered a success, we need a new formula for determining the proper number of visas each year, one that delinks the number from politics and ties it to the needs of the labor market. Support for this is overwhelming. A recent poll found that 65 percent of the public supports the idea that employer demand should determine the number of guest worker permits given to non-citizens. This support was consistent across geographic and ethnic boundaries. U.S. corporations are now competing with companies from all over the world to attract and retain the most highly qualified employees. The most successful companies are creating talent management programs that are global in scope, rotating promising management-track employees to positions around the world to decrease attrition and ensure that they are developing leaders who can be successful in the world of global business.
Harold L. Sirkin is a Chicago-based senior partner of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management
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Visa System Needs Reform
Orange County Register
Legalization of the undocumented population can be a key element in a political compromise to fix major flaws in America's immigration system. The primary reason for illegal immigration is not a lack of personnel at the border but the lack of legal means to enter the United States to work at lower-skilled jobs. Moreover, low quotas for high-skill visas and green cards hamper U.S. competitiveness. The time has come to implement the best policies for America.
Stuart Anderson is Executive Director of the National Foundation for American Policy.
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U.S. Losing Out on Highly-Skilled Foreign Workers
Orange County Register
U.S. immigration law has not kept pace with economic realities. The number of visas and “green cards” for highly skilled workers is far too low. Red tape discourages many of these workers from fulfilling their dream of U.S. citizenship. And while the U.S. leads the world in attracting international students to its outstanding universities, there is no program for the most promising of these students to seek permanent residency. … One important step the U.S. can take is to revamp the H-1B temporary visa program. 
Henry Cisneros is Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Current Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Immigration Task Force.
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Op-ed: As Congress Dawdles, the World Steals Our Talent
Wall Street Journal
For while immigration is often debated in the U.S. as a humanitarian matter, or a political matter, or a legal matter (and it is all those things), our global competitors see it for what it is: a critical economic matter in a global race for talent, job creation and innovation. This is why the House of Representatives needs to swiftly pass a comprehensive immigration reform that gives us the tools to win this global battle for talent, and addresses the other economic, political and moral shortcomings of the current system. Every day that goes by without reform, our economic future is imperiled.
Steve Case is Chairman and CEO of Revolution, and Chairman of the Case Foundation.
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Editorial: The Immigration Stimulus
Wall Street Journal
A new study by the National Foundation for American Policy and the National Venture Capital Association finds that immigrants have helped launch a third of venture-backed companies that have gone public since 2006, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Zipcar. Companies started by immigrants with venture capital employ roughly 600,000 people worldwide and have a $900 billion market cap. High-tech manufacturers, which constitute about four in 10 immigrant start-ups that went public prior to 2006, are helping revive American industry. Another quarter of these immigrant-founded companies were in information technology, one of the few bright spots of the dismal recovery. … One goal of immigration reform should be to make it easier for businesses to get the workers they need in the U.S. But equally important is to expand the pool of intellectual capital of which there can never be too much. Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Q.E.D.
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Op-ed: Immigrant Scientists Enrich the U.S.
Wall Street Journal
There's still confusion about the importance of immigrants to our future and the rationale for allowing more immigrants, even skilled immigrants, into the country. Sometimes telling examples can help clarify difficult issues. An announcement by the Simons Foundation of New York earlier this month constitutes such an example. In this announcement the foundation congratulated 13 brilliant young mathematicians, theoretical physicists and theoretical computer scientists who have been named "Simons Investigators" in 2013. Guess how many were born outside the U.S.?
Peter A. Coclanis is a Professor of History and Director of the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina.
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Editorial: Bureaucratic High-Tech Visas
Wall Street Journal
One good argument for immigration reform is to create more visas for the world's best and brightest to stay in America. So it's disappointing that the Senate Gang of Eight bill creates more visas for talented workers but then makes them harder to use with new government rules and wage fixing. 
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Op-ed: The Immigration Reform Opportunity
Wall Street Journal
Next week, the Senate will begin making changes to and, hopefully, improve the immigration-reform legislation I introduced with several colleagues last month. This part of the process is a chance to fix America's broken immigration system and end today's de facto amnesty for those who live here illegally. It will also show that Washington can work when leaders listen to the American people and invoke their wisdom in debates and legislative work.
Marco Rubio is a Republican Senator from Florida.
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Op-ed: Foreign STEM Workers Can Help Rebuild Economy
Roll Call
… Two unfilled STEM jobs exist for every STEM worker in the U.S. looking for work. The trend is expected to get worse. Our nation’s STEM workforce shortage is affecting the viability of small firms in the marketplace.
Richard Hanna is a Republican Representative from New York.
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Editorial: Visa Reforms for Skilled Workers
New York Times
The immigration reform bill introduced by a bipartisan group of senators last week would make it easier for skilled workers to come to this country while toughening rules to prevent abuse in temporary work visas. Many skilled workers and their families spend a decade or more waiting for employment-based green cards, which are capped at 140,000 a year and are subject to per-country limits. The bill addresses this problem by temporarily raising limits to clear a backlog of 234,000 applications for employment-based permanent visas. It would also exempt spouses and children of workers from the limits, which should free up nearly 80,000 visas a year.
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Op-ed: People Are an Asset, Not a Liability
New York Times
In a free economy, people are an asset not a liability. Immigration reform will increase the size of the American work force and increase its productivity: key factors in economic growth. More H1B visas for high-tech talent, allowing those educated in American universities in science and engineering fields to employ their skills in America and a guest-worker program for agricultural and seasonal work, will strengthen and enlarge the American workforce. 
Grover Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform.
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As strategic affiliates, the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) help advance U.S. growth, innovation and job creation by supporting employers and their employees as they navigate the most pressing workforce and talent management issues, which includes reform of the U.S. immigration system. Learn more about ACIP at Learn more about SHRM at

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