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No deal on H-1B visas for STEM workers without immigration bill

Kenneth Corbin | March 6, 2013
Leading Senate Democrat urges the Internet Association to focus its advocacy on the controversial issue of lower-skilled workers, declaring that the only path to greater numbers of foreign-born science, technology, engineering and math workers will come through a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"You will not get a bill unless there's a full immigration bill," he says. "The idea of just pushing your own proposal is a very bad idea."

For the tech companies that are members of the Internet Association and other advocates of immigration proposals to expand the availability of foreign-born STEM workers, Schumer counsels that they concentrate their energies on bridging the gap between leading business lobbies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor groups on the more controversial issues involving lesser-skilled immigrants.

In February, the heads of the chamber and the AFL-CIO released a joint statement outlining a series of principles to expand the availability of legal immigrants while protecting jobs and wages for U.S. workers.

But that show of good faith notwithstanding, Schumer stresses that a significant friction remains between business and labor, arguing that the latter has a legitimate concern about the need to manage the future influx of foreign workers who would vie for jobs with their domestic counterparts.

"The best thing you can do to help us right now is not lobby for high-skill, high-tech immigration--that's pretty much a consensus," Schumer told members of the Internet Association. "But it's to have your bosses talk to the Chamber of Commerce and the other business organizations and say on the low-skill end there's got to be some give."

 

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