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Sen. Cruz Presents Measure to Strengthen, Improve Legal Immigration

Offers amendment to increase H-1B visas to help improve, retain high-skilled labor force

May 14, 2013

  |  

press@cruz.senate.gov / (202) 228-7561

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) today presented an amendment to the Gang of Eight immigration bill that would improve our nation’s legal immigration system by increasing high-skilled temporary worker visas, called H-1B visas, by 500 percent. The measure would effectively address the needs of our nation’s high-skilled workforce by helping meet the growing demand for workers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. It will also make block grants available to states to promote STEM education efforts and increase domestic STEM professionals. The committee voted against the amendment 4 to 14 with every Democrat voting against it on a party-line vote.

“I strongly support legal immigration. Legal immigration is a fundamental pillar of our nation's heritage, and I was pleased today to offer legislation that would have improved and expanded legal immigration by dramatically increasing the cap for high-tech temporary worker visas. This amendment would not only improve the current system, but would also encourage economic growth and create new jobs in America. There is currently a serious shortage of workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, yet every year we send thousands of high-tech graduate students back to their home countries to start businesses and create jobs. This makes no sense. I’m disappointed in the committee’s vote to reject expanding high-tech immigration. Although the Gang of Eight's bill makes a modest step towards improving high-tech immigration, it does not go nearly far enough. There is no reason to arbitrarily cap high-tech visas at 110,000 when these jobs are going unfilled. We need economic growth here and now.”

Sen. Cruz’s amendment would:

Immediately increase the H-1B cap by 500 percent from 65,000 to 325,000.

  • To truly fix our broken immigration system and take into account our nation’s economic needs, we must put more emphasis on increasing employment-based immigration. There is a current shortage of qualified high-skilled workers in the U.S., with an estimated 230,000 advanced-degree STEM jobs going unfilled by 2018.
  • Additionally, more H-1B workers mean more jobs for American workers – according to a study by the American Enterprise Institute, for every additional 100 H-1B workers, 183 jobs are created for U.S. citizens.

Help retain the high-skilled workers that are trained in the U.S. by allowing “dual intent.”

  • This would allow foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities to enter the U.S. on a temporary H-1B visa if they intend to get a Green Card once they complete their studies.
  • Currently, about 300,000 students come to America annually to be educated, but are required to return home upon completing their education.

Create block grants for states to promote STEM education in their public schools by raising H-1B fees.

  • These block grants will encourage educating our children in these high demand fields, opening more doors of opportunity to future generations. According to the Joint Economic Committee, between 2010 and 2020, demand for STEM graduates is expected to grow by 17 percent, while employment for those graduates will increase only 14 percent, partly because American graduates are not available or qualified to fill these jobs.
  • The block grant program would be funded by raising H-1B fees from $750 to $1,250 for businesses with fewer than 25 employees, and from $1,500 to $2,500 for those with 25 or more employees.

Full text of the amendment may be viewed at http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/legislation/immigration/amendments.cfm

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