The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) calls the introduction by U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) of a high skill immigration reform measure an important step towards addressing an urgent issue of national importance.
Rep. Lofgren's bill, the Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America (IDEA) Act of 2011 tackles many of the key issues faced by companies in need of highly skilled workers. The bill would allow U.S. companies to have access to, and retain, highly skilled foreign graduates from U.S. universities who studied in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The bill would also establish a new green card program for entrepreneurs who are able to secure venture capital funding or who establish a business that creates jobs for U.S. workers. One of the most important aspects of the bill are the provisions that address much needed relief for employment based green card backlogs.
"Highly skilled foreign workers complement the American workforce in many critical areas and help fuel the economy with innovations that bring job creation with it. Rep. Lofgren's deep understanding of these issues is evident as is her leadership in the immigration debate," said incoming AILA President, Eleanor Pelta.
"The IDEA Act attempts to strike a balance between our economy's need for highly skilled foreign workers and legitimate protections for the U.S. workforce. We remain committed to working with Congresswoman Lofgren and her colleagues to improve our immigration system.
"It is crucial for us to take a common sense approach to high skill visa reform by making sure these visas remain available for the legitimate needs of employers, both large and small, in order to keep up with our dynamic economy," concluded Pelta.
The American Council on International Personnel (ACIP) today thanked Representative Zoe Lofgren, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, for introducing the Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America Act of 2011,or the IDEA Act of 2011, legislation that will help spur U.S. job creation, economic growth and innovation through meaningful reform of the U.S. employment-based immigration system.
In a letter thanking Representative Lofgren for her efforts, ACIP Executive Director Lynn Shotwell stated:
[Our members] know firsthand the critical importance of having an efficient immigration processing system, and the IDEA Act of 2011 rightly recognizes that the agencies, employers and employees all benefit from creating greater efficiencies in the system, as the Trusted Employer and Trusted Recruiter Programs you propose would do. ACIP has long advocated for a Trusted Employer Program as a practical reform that would free government resources to focus on more pressing issues and employer resources to focus on the critical goals of job creation and innovation.
In addition, by including provisions that would both reform the employment-based immigration system and improve U.S. education and training, the IDEA Act of 2011 recognizes the critical importance of highly educated talent – no matter where they are born – to the American workforce and economy. In particular, providing a path to green cards for foreign-born students who receive advanced degrees from U.S. universities in key scientific and technical fields, as your legislation would do, is a common sense reform that has drawn broad bipartisan support and one which should be enacted without delay.