The technology sector, one of the most vibrant, crucial segments of the economy, needs immigrants to thrive, Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers said Thursday.
“I look at Silicon Valley, the most successful part of the American economy. I see my company being a third immigrants and two-thirds minorities,” he said on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.”
“To me, these people are the people like the Italians and the Irish before them that came in and built this country. I think we ought to quit screwing around with them. I think (President) Obama’s move is political, but so what? I’ll take what i can get.”
This week, Obama announced a policy shift to issue work permits to younger, undocumented immigrants, possibly affecting up to 800,000 people, and ordered a halt to their deportations.
Rodgers said that the immigration issue doesn’t need to be solved just for the tech sector.
“I don’t just run a chip company with high tech people working for me,” he said. “I have three vineyards. Without immigrants, we wouldn’t have workers for the vineyards, and we have experienced times in California where the crops rotted in the field, so this whole idea that somehow people are coming across the border and taking crop-harvesting jobs that Americans have been lining up for and somehow that’s making unemployment higher, I just don’t buy it.”
While opposed to illegal immigration, Rodgers saw foreign workers as crucial to the nation.