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How does the U.S. need to change immigration policy to allow more high-tech workers into the country?

Saturday, 7 Apr 2007 | 10:07 AM ET

"Leave immigration alone. Until we can get an administration that has a head on their shoulders this administration would screw this up too. It's only making news because big corporations are behind it. There is plenty of smart brilliant people in the USA that can and will do the work." -- Ken S., Georgia

"When I read comments like the US does not have to bring in immigrants, and it only needs to train Americans, I think people are not seeing this problem in a bigger context. My wife and I happen to be engineers, as my father, grand father, and great grand father, and we happen to be non-Americans. The problem that America and most of the Western civilization faces (eg Germany, Canada, UK have the same problem) is that Americans, Germans, etc. don't want to become engineers. Sure, there was a bit of a surge, but that brought enrollment to back to 1984 levels. Though corporations need more technical savy people, the reality is that the engineering and the sciences are hard and they don't pay as well as say, a lawyer. So Americans, Germans, etc. study to become lawyers, or MBA because they see a brighter future. I don't blame the kids, I blame the system. Here is something to think about. Why are there not more scientific and engineering people in government? Why are there oodles of MBA's, lawyers, poli-sci, etc? Sure, technical people have not always been in the foreground, but these days it has become bad! Until society considers technical people as being more than geeks countries will have to import technical people." -- Christian G.

"I believe that our children are our future and that we should focus on educating them at school and at home. If we had been doing this and placing more value on education in math and science we would not need to ask this question." -- Peter L., Florida

"The policy should be to reduce the number if immigrants – there are plenty of American workers – business just want to get cheap workers. Salaries for some professional workers have been severely held down by cheap foreign workers. Who can afford to go to college for 4 years, 6 years or longer for professional degrees and then not be able to get good jobs? The tax break for college is only $4000/year for tuition. I know - I’m just helping my kids with income tax preparation. The whole system needs rework. College costs are way too expensive. Then jobs are given to immigrants!!!" -- Marvin P., Oklahoma

"Bill Gates had it right: allow an unlimited amount of the best and brightest, with minimal restriction. If we don’t hire them, another country will be happy to take them in. Our current short-sighted policies demean what made this country so diverse and vibrant (immigrants). Pretty soon, we will be begging people to cross the border just so we can get all the work done." -- Kenneth B., California

"There is a disconnect between the government, Wall street and Main street. The latest quarterly stock price is not the holy grail. We need to take care of our own people. We have IT folks in this country that are looking for work." -- Leslee S.

"We should not change the current laws. We need to change our education system so the primary focus is switched from political correctness and social engineering to the technical, scientific, and business areas." -- Mark H., Colorado

"This is crazy. The U.S. doesn't need to change immigration policy to let more foreign workers in. The U.S. needs to improve its school system so that U.S. workers are capable of doing these high tech jobs." -- Grant Z., Georgia

"If government cannot provide me high-tech workers I am not going to stop my business. I will find workers be it in an other country. Do I care?" -- Andy M., Florida

"The assumption that there are not enough American high-tech workers is a lie perpetuated by large corporations to lower the wages of these workers. Abuses of the H-1B visa program have been well documented.... Senators Durbin an Grassley have drafted a bill to address these abuses." --Jeff D., Florida

"We should educate our own population rather than import foreign workers." -- Mark G. California

"Over 20,000 engineers were laid off in this country by Dept. of Defense base closings in the mid 90's and 2005. In addition with the rampant downsizing of the manufacturing sector over the last 20 years, tens of thousands of additional engineers were laid off. Very few of these engineers have found reemployment as engineers. Big business obviously just wants to drive salaries lower than they are now. We need to completely stop all immigration into this country and especially in the high tech sector. " --Robert H., California

"What's the point of doing that in the context of more tech companies moving or creating offices overseas or outsourcing to firms located overseas. Also, more countries like India are seeing companies growing that are becoming viable competitors in other countries as well. So, other than to improve the percentage of educated immigrants who can more readily contribute to the overall economy than low wage laborers, what would be the point." -- Robert K., Kansas

"If businesses want to import foreign workers because they cannot find skilled Americans, then they should be required to pay a fee equaling 20% of the worker's salary into a fund used to train Americans to do the same job. This H1B "crisis" has been going on since the early 1990s and business people always use the same line--more H1Bs now, and educate Americans for the future. But when it comes to lobbying for policy, they conveniently forget that bit about educating Americans to fill these roles. There is no incentive for businesses to hire or train Americans when they can hire low paid foreigners who can be threatened with deportation." --

John F., California

"There are laws already in place that must be followed. These immigration laws were written for a reason. This country can not take in all poverty stricken people of the world. True, illegal immigrants work "cheap" however, they do not pay income tax, if they are undocumented workers. They also will drain social services, and that will eventually topple the economy." -- Richard T., New York

"The U.S. has plenty of qualified high-tech American citizens to fill many of these jobs here in the US who are unemployed. But, the only positions high-tech companies are offering most of these Americans are temporary contract positions, with a maximum time limit these employees can work (often a year) before they are laid-off, just to be replaced by another worker for the same positions. We should not allow more high-tech foreign workers to fill these positions until all American IT people are employed in a full-time, permanent position. If after that, companies need more IT employees, then they can bring in foreign workers, but not before. Bringing in foreign workers temporarily and training them, who will go back to their country in a couple of years or less, is done just so that the companies can eventually ship these jobs overseas at the expense of American workers who have spent years in education for these positions." -- Jeff S., Washington