White House Plan Prioritizes Skills-Based Immigration

Friday, May 17, 2019, 2:45pm

by Maryam Khan Cope, Director, Government Affairs


President Trump yesterday announced a plan to reform America’s immigration system by prioritizing skills-based immigration. While the full text of the plan has not been released, we hope the President’s announcement marks a step toward bipartisan action to reform America’s high-skilled immigration system.

As an engine of economic growth for America, the semiconductor industry has long supported efforts to allow the best and brightest from around the world to fill our many open jobs in the United States, boost American innovation, and spur new job creation and economic growth.

The semiconductor industry designs and builds some of the most advanced technology in the world, and our sector relies heavily on a high-skilled, high-knowledge workforce to advance innovation and stay competitive. In fact, many of America’s most innovative companies — including several leading U.S. semiconductor companies — were founded and led by immigrants. Antiquated immigration laws are a significant barrier to stronger growth and innovation in the U.S. semiconductor industry, the overall tech sector, and our economy.

As a country, we cannot afford to continue to turn away the world’s top minds in science and engineering. There is broad, bipartisan consensus that America’s high-skilled immigration system is broken, and that change is needed.

To meet U.S. semiconductor companies’ demand for talent, SIA’s policy blueprint calls on Congress to increase the overall number of green cards so qualified STEM graduates from U.S. colleges and universities, as well as STEM graduates from around the world, can work in the U.S. and boost our economy. And domestically, to help meet long-term talent needs, policymakers should increase U.S. investments in STEM education by 50 percent and implement a national STEM education initiative to double the number of American STEM graduates by 2029.

The U.S. needs a highly skilled STEM workforce to maintain global semiconductor industry leadership and ensure America wins the worldwide race to develop and implement the technologies of the future. SIA looks forward to reviewing the President’s immigration plan in more detail and working with the Administration and Congress to enact meaningful, bipartisan high-skilled reforms to strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry and keep America at its competitive best.