One of the bills addressing the H-1B visa program, introduced earlier this year, will get a new hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives today, reports Computerworld.
The STRIVE (Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy) Act of 2007, sponsored by Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), would boost the annual H-1B visa cap from 65,000 to 115,000 and allow further increases of 20 percent a year, up to a maximum of 180,000. Foreign nationals earning graduate degrees in the United States would be exempt.
Among the folks expected to testify before the House Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law are Flake and Julie Kirchner, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform in Washington.
A Houston Chronicle blogger notes that few members of Congress want to deal with the highly charged immigration debate as they gear up for the 2008 elections.
But a group of 13 state governors, including those with lots of tech employment such as California and Texas, have appealed to Congressional leaders, asking them to consider increasing the H-1B cap. The governors also want more green cards.
Another advocate of streamlining the green-card process is Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at the Harvard Law School, executive-in-residence at Duke University and co-author of a study released earlier this year that warns of a "reverse brain drain" that could hurt America's status as a high-tech leader. Wadhwa tells The New York Times:
If (skilled foreigners) stay, we win. If they work with our brightest people and learn American ways and go back, we have a big problem. The risk is they leave and compete with us.