This is a challenge for everyone who feels strongly, whether pro or con, about the H-1B visa issue. The challenge is to discuss a recent H-1B-related development without denigrating anyone, without making unsubstantiated accusations against anyone, without belittling any culture or nationality, and without using a snide or mean-spirited tone to express your views.
For this exercise, we'll use an article posted on Computerworld.com last week, titled "Hatch Wants White House to Seek H-1B Expansion." It was written by my former colleague Patrick Thibodeau, one of the best reporters in the business, and one who has covered the H-1B issue for years. Here are the key points from Thibodeau's story:
- At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Feb. 16, Sen. Orrin Hatch, a republican from Utah, expressed the view that one of the things that would "help our country a great deal is to expand the H-1B and allow these Ph.D.s who are educated here, who want to stay here, who are brilliant, who can help us in the high-tech world and other worlds, to stay here."
- Hatch said it's "ridiculous" that the Obama administration has not taken a clear position on the H-1B visa issue. "We are not doing things that we really ought to do to get competitive," Hatch said. "Weigh in on this H-1B thing. That would help us a great deal."
- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the sole witness at the hearing, said he agreed with Hatch. "It's just a question about how best to do it," Geithner said.
- In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama said there should be an easier path to immigration for foreign students who graduate with advanced degrees from universities in the United States.
- Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a democrat from California, has drafted a proposal that would create a new employment-based permanent residency category for advanced-degree graduates that would bypass the need for an H-1B visa.
There you have it. Now, let's see if this development can be discussed in a civil manner. I welcome you to share your views.