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Report: Legal status for immigrants helps U.S.-born workers

Would you believe that American workers actually suffer when highly skilled employees from other countries are left out in the cold without appropriate visas? A new study shows that American employees in Texas and other states could actually benefit from expanding programs that encourage adjustment of status, including the H-1B visa for highly skilled tech workers. Official reports show that major cities such as Nashville, Tennessee, may lose out on thousands of tech jobs for native-born workers because foreign nationals are denied a green card or other concession.

The study, conducted by The Partnership for a New American Economy, considered data from 2009 and 2010. That information showed that tech workers from the U.S. actually missed out on about $11.8 million in wages in Nashville alone. Nationwide, America has missed out on creating hundreds of thousands of jobs because 178,000 visa rejections were processed during 2009 and 2010.

The report underscores the importance of growing our national employee base in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, commonly known as STEM. Immigration experts say it will be essential to grant employment-based accommodations to foreigners in the coming decade; more than 778,000 tech jobs are likely to be created in this nation by the year 2020. The ridiculously low caps on the H-1B visa program may play a role in limiting U.S. progress in tech fields -- only 85,000 visas are granted for private-sector workers from abroad every year.

America needs to work to overcome our "self-defeating" immigration policies that often end up sending students home after they have earned higher-level degrees from U.S. universities. Adjustment of status for these highly skilled workers should be made more readily available. Visa availability has the potential to change the way we do business in the U.S. -- we need to get on board with expanding these critical programs.

Source: The Tennessean, "Report: H1-B visas can lead to jobs for U.S. workers" Jamie McGee, Jun. 04, 2014

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