Congress Hears Testimony in Support of IEEE-USA's High-Tech Immigration Position

March 31, 2011

WASHINGTON (31 March 2011)-- Bruce Morrison, a former member of Congress and chairman of Morrison Public Affairs Group, testified in support of IEEE-USA's high-tech immigration position on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Morrison was one of four witnesses to appear before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. The hearing was entitled, "H-1B Visas: Designing a Program to Meet the Needs of the U.S. Economy and U.S. Workers."

Here are excerpts from his written testimony:

"It is clear from the debates over H-1B during the past 15 years that there will be continuing controversy over the 'right' contours for that category. You are hearing different views on that controversy today. But while this debate continues, there is a more pressing problem that can and should be addressed: facilitating the employment of the many advanced-degree graduates of STEM* programs in America's top universities. While the percentages vary by school and program, it continues to be the case that a majority of these graduates are foreign-born. This statistic should be a matter of concern, and an effective response to the underrepresentation of American students in STEM graduate programs is imperative. But this condition has existed for decades and any correction will take decades, as well."

"In May and June, another class of advanced-degree STEM graduates will join the workforce. Whose welcome mat will be most attractive? America has always won this competition in the past, but our competitors are increasingly aggressive in pursuit of this talent pool. And globalization has made it easier for multinational companies to go where the talent goes, rather than insist that the talent stay in America. With our unemployment so high, we desperately need to hold onto these jobs -- those filled by Americans and those that can be filled by foreign-born graduates on their way to becoming Americans -- as well as the jobs that their work will create."

"In short, there are no problems for which green cards are not a better solution than temporary visas. And there are no problems with the H-1B program itself that a system built on green cards will not help to fix. So we are asking this subcommittee to change the subject -- from H-1B to green cards -- at least long enough to address the opportunity to retain this spring's new STEM graduates permanently in America and to help their predecessors to not continue having to wait in endless lines for their dates to come up in the green card queue.

"Today the bipartisan leadership of the Judiciary Committee and this subcommittee received a joint letter from IEEE-USA and the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). It is remarkable. Organizations composed of the largest high-tech employers on the one hand, and the largest organization of high-tech workers on the other, agree that Congress should focus on green cards, not guest worker visas. This is a sign pointing in the direction that we hope this subcommittee will go."
-end-
* STEM is science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Morrison and the other witnesses' written testimony is available at http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_03312011.html.

IEEE-USA's joint letter with SIA in support of green cards is at http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/policy/2011/033111a.pdf

For more on IEEE-USA's position on "Ensuring a Strong High-Tech Workforce through Educational and Employment-Based Immigration Reforms," see http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/positions/Immigration1110.pdf.

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of 210,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE. http://www.ieeeusa.org

IEEE-USA

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