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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hosts a Panel on High Skills Immigration Reform

October 1, 2011

On Wednesday, September 28th, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the keynote address to a panel hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce entitled, Immigration & American Competitiveness: The Challenge Ahead. Mayor Bloomberg presented 4 key ideas on immigration reform for highly-skilled workers:

  • Increase the number of permanent resident visas (green cards) for highly-skilled workers;
  • Provide green cards to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students who graduate with advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities;
  • Provide a conditional visa to immigrants who have capital to back their business ventures; and
  • Remove caps on H-1B temporary worker visas and per-country employment-based green cards.

The panel included representatives from business and high-tech industries as well as USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. A video of the proceedings can be viewed here.

The forum was covered by a number of news outlets and could represent a growing consensus from both sides of the aisle about the need for immigration reform specifically for highly-skilled workers. The discussion on September 28th followed the introduction on September 23rd of Rep. Chaffetz’s Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act which is supported by Rep. Lamar Smith, Chair of the Judiciary Committee and author of the controversial mandatory E-Verify bill which has been criticized by members of his own party.

Rep. Chaffetz’s bill has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. The Subcommittee is slated for a hearing on Wednesday, October 5th, entitled STEM the Tide: Should America Try to Prevent an Exodus of Foreign Graduates of U.S. Universities with Advanced Science Degrees?

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