"For that purpose, we absolutely have to be able to keep the brain power in this country," said Trump.
Pressing for clarity, Kelly asked Trump: "You are abandoning the position on your Website?"
Trump's H-1B position has two main features. It raises the pay of visa workers to keep employers from paying entry-level wages. Higher salaries "will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed" workers "instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas."
A second major feature is the campaign's "hire American workers first" edict. Trump wrote that H-1B "petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service)."
During the debate, Kelly also quizzed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) about his inconsistencies on the H-1B program. She pointed out that Cruz supported a major hike in the visa cap, and did not join the group of bipartisan Senators seeking an investigation of the program following Southern California Edison's layoff last year.
"The abuse of the H-1B program has been rampant," said Cruz, in response.
Cruz is co-sponsoring legislation with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to substantially hike H-1B wages, tighten program rules and eliminate non-disparagement clauses that serve to keep IT workers from speaking out.
As president, Cruz said he would impose a 180-day moratorium on the H-1B program and "implement a comprehensive investigation, because "you got U.S. companies that are firing American workers, bringing in foreign workers, and forcing them to train their replacements."
Trump recently received the endorsement Sessions, who also heads the Senate immigration subcommittee. Two former IT workers, who each said they had to train a foreign replacement, spoke at a recent Trump rally.
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