Greenberg Traurig, LLP  


Immigration News Flash

February 3, 2006

The Presidentís American Competitiveness Initiative and Call to Increase the H-1B Cap

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 31, 2006, President Bush spoke briefly about immigration reform, specifically mentioning the need and importance of a guest worker program. What was not mentioned during the address, but was addressed in a press release from the White House released the same day, was the Presidentís commitment to the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI). This initiative, ACI, encourages American innovation necessary to compete in a global economy. As noted in the press release, "The President supports attracting and retaining the best and the brightest high-skilled workers from around the world by reforming the Nation's immigration system, while maintaining national security priorities. The Presidentís comprehensive plan for immigration reform meets the needs of a growing economy, allows workers to provide for their families while respecting the law, and enhanced homeland security by relieving pressure on the borders."

A few days after the Presidentís State of the Union Address, he spoke at 3M in Minnesota regarding American competitiveness and called on Congress to raise the cap on H-1B visas. The President stated that,

Now, in the meantime, there's another issue that I want to discuss right quick . . . . there are more high-tech jobs in America today than people available to fill them. And if that's -- so what do we do about that? And the reason it's important, and the American citizen has got to understand it's important, is if we don't do something about how to fill those high-tech jobs here, they'll go somewhere else where somebody can do the jobÖAnd so one way to deal with this problem, and probably the most effective way, is to recognize that there's a lot of bright engineers and chemists and physicists from other lands that are either educated here, or received an education elsewhere but want to work here. And they come here under a program called H1B visas. And the problem is, is that Congress has limited the number of H1B visas that can come and apply for a job -- a H1B visa holder can apply for a job at 3M. I think it's a mistake not to encourage more really bright folks who can fill the jobs that are having trouble being filled here in America -- to limit their number. And so I call upon Congress to be realistic and reasonable and raise that cap.

GT applauds the President for calling on Congress to raise the cap on H-1B visas.

GT continues to work closely with key Congressional members and White House staff on comprehensive immigration reform measures that address the issues that are plaguing our immigration system and the business community. To this end GTís Business Immigration Group firmly supports a guest worker program and supports the recruitment of highly-skilled immigrant workers. GT is working diligently with Members of the Senate to create an immigration systems that allows and supports these working populations.