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Businesses Need Common Sense Immigration Reform to Keep Growing, Creating American Jobs

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Dr. Blank and members of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (photo: Colin Buckner, Silicon Valley Leadership Group)

Guest blog post by Dr. Rebecca Blank, Deputy Secretary of Commerce

Yesterday, I was in California to talk with business executives who are part of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. We discussed key issues facing them as they continue to grow, create jobs, and drive both innovation and competitiveness here in the U.S.

They just completed an annual survey of their own membership. The biggest business challenge that they identified was their ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce.

I let them know that President Obama understands that we are in a global competition for talent and we want the best people right here in the U.S.

I gave two examples that are part of his commonsense plan for immigration reform:

First, many foreign graduate students come to the U.S. and study areas like science, technology, engineering and mathematics—STEM fields—at our universities. Upon graduation, we can't afford to lose those high-skilled workers to a competitor nation simply because they can't get a green card. That's why we need to "staple" a green card to their degrees, especially if there is a U.S. company that needs their particular knowledge or expertise to keep growing and creating more American jobs.

Second, some foreign entrepreneurs have successfully attracted financing from U.S. investors and are finding U.S. customers who want to buy their products. Through a "start-up visa," we want to find a path for these entrepreneurs to build their businesses in the U.S. and hire Americans to work in them. After all, more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies have been founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.

Taking these two steps—along with all of the others in the President's comprehensive plan for immigration reform—could help boost our GDP by up to 1.3 percent while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the coming years.

We need to act now. There has never been stronger, broader support for immigration reform than there is today. It's time to move forward with policies that will help America out-compete and out-innovate in the 21st century.

If we are successful, our economy will grow faster, we will create more good-paying jobs, and the future will be brighter for the next generation.

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Sol

I have a Master Business Administration in Marketing, but I can not use my knowledge because I can not work legally. President needs to act now!

please listen to an ordinary person....

I am sorry, but most of the current ideas re. immigration do not make a lot of sense to me.

If I was Deputy Secretary of Commerce I would wash Mr. Gates' ears for starters. A big number of properly recently educated USers is without a job in STEM field (and still have to pay off large debts).
An even larger number of USers is without a job despite good knowledge, skills, expertise, in this field. But they are considered too old, too expensive. And yes some would need some retraining.

Ms. Blank talked to the Silicon Valley Leaders Group ? Why doesn't she go to the house of somebody who has - after many years of working in high tech - now sits at home desperate looking for a job. Despite an impressive resume. It is because companies all cut the bottom line.
I dare her to visit me next time she visits CA !

What is cheaper than opening a tin of fresh new cheap willing H1 B workers ?! It least that seems so, until we count the costs to US society as a whole. By CEO''s, (investment)bankers and politicians do not care, as it is the bottom part of the food chain that foots the bill as usual.

How come the people who should make insightfull decision only are able to regurgitate press releases from big co.'s ?
Apparently Mr. Gates and his ilk have told their story about worker shortage so many times, that by now themselves they start to believe it.
I dare Mr. Gates also, come down to CA ! I will make you lunch and we can talk about this !

Please Ms. Blank do your homework. Read the reports from GAO (already from 2003) and the work from several researchers about how H1B does not do what you are let to believe. The program has become rife of misuse and abuse.

Stapling green cards to degrees is not the best of ideas, sorry. And the start-up visa as proposed now is an invitation to fraud, in my opinion.

And then another pief of mine: how come you also do not address and have never addressed - as far as I know - what is done to the spouses (read: wives) of those oh-so-needed-and-wanted H1B workers ? They are punished with an H4, have no right to a real life here as they are not allowed to work.