Senate Addresses Legal Immigration Policies and U.S. Brain Drain

As certain politicians continue to focus on illegal immigration, the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security focused on the challenges of America’s business brain drain and the inequities of the legal immigration process in late July. The CEO of NASDAQ, President of Cornell University, the General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation, the Associate Professor of Public Policy for the Rochester Institute of Technology, and an esteemed female doctor all spoke before a recent Senate hearing to discuss “The Economic Imperative for Enacting Immigration Reform”.

NASDAQ’s president Robert Greifeld spoke about how 14 of the active NASDAQ companies have foreign-born founders, and with outdated immigration policies the U.S. is on the brink of not incubating enough talent. He explained how an estimated 17,000 graduate students must return to their home countries as the U.S. green card backlogs have barred them from staying to contribute to the workforce or start their own company. Greifeld was also discouraged by the number of visas that are left unused because of bureaucratic red tape. Between 1992 and 2009, 506,410 green cards were not used, and only 180,039 were recaptured.

Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith explained how immigration laws must be brought up to 2011 standards. He voiced how structural changes to immigration have not been made since 1990, when the needs for high-tech jobs were still in the initial stages. In May, Microsoft had 4,551 unfilled job positions, and 2,629 of them were for computer science roles. But with immigration country caps, skilled individuals from India and China, for example, must wait for years before they can ever get lawful residency status in the U.S. And Smith is finding it hard to find talent stateside to make matters worse.

Esteemed endocrinologist Dr. Puneet S. Arora, who is also a member of Immigration Voice, spoke at the hearing too. As an immigrant from New Delhi, India, she has experienced the immigration process firsthand. She advocates for the country cap to be deleted in exchange for a first come, first serve immigration petition process. Arora echoes Smith’s suggestion of rolling over unused immigrant visa numbers to the next fiscal year. With the brain drain in important science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (STEM), the employment-based green card limit should be raised to 290,000 visas if not eliminated altogether for STEM jobs, she says. As many people wait for years without knowing when and if they will get a visa, she would like to see job portability so that an immigrant would not “lose their place in the green card line” if they changed jobs, but were still contributing to the economy.

In Texas, Houston immigration attorney Annie Banerjee has more than 10 years of successfully guiding individuals, families, and businesses through the maze of immigration matters. Attorney Banerjee is an immigrant, and knows the care and attention to detail that each person deserves to get their American dream underway. She has helped many immigrants contribute in big and small ways to the U.S. economy and make a better life for themselves and their family.

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A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at