Dozens of business leaders, top business school deans urge Trump to overhaul H-1B visa system and lift country-specific visa caps

They pen an open letter to Trump and congressional leaders.

Over the past 32 months, The Trump administration’s restrictive immigration policies have been consistently opposed by pro-immigration activists and business groups. Now a coalition of business leaders and academics from top business schools in the country has joined the chorus of critics.

Under the banner of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), they published an open letter, as an advertisement in the Washington edition of the Wall Street Journal, calling for  immigration reforms for high-skilled immigrants.

The letter is addressed to President Donald Trump, Vice President Michael Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

ALSO READ: H-1B visa restrictions push jobs out of US: Wharton study (October 14, 2019)

Signatories include a number of prominent Indian Americans, including Harsha V. Agadi, President and CEO Crawford & Co.; Sanjay Gupta, Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University; Vivek Choudhury, Daniels College of Business University of Denver; Anuj Mehrotra School of Business The George Washington University; and Raghu Sundaram, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University.

Stressing the need for overhauling the existing H-1B visa system, the letter stated, “A combination of our outdated laws, artificial regional and skills-based caps on immigration and recent spikes in hostility are closing the door to the high-skilled immigrants our economy needs to thrive.”

The letter also called for removing per-country visa caps for issuing green cards, a subject that has been of particular concern to high-skilled professionals from India working in this country, who have been stuck in the green card wait for decades.

The signatories argued that the local US hiring may not be capable of generating the required demand for IT professionals. “The fact that our economy has created an estimated three million open STEM jobs is a positive,” it stated. “It speaks to the vibrancy and opportunities available in a healthy, growing economy. Yet the fact that those jobs are unfilled — and that the US is not producing enough people with the skills to fill them — is not just a negative, it’s a crisis. We are needlessly capping our growth and can do better.”

A white paper was also released by GMAC, titled: “Early Warning Signals Winners and Losers in the Global Race for Talent.”

The white paper stated that the “number of H-1B visas now annually available has diminished to an adjusted cap of 85,000. Issued on a first come, first-served basis, every year the demand for H-1B visas outweighs the supply. For instance, in 2019 190,098 H-1B petitions were filed for 85,000 visas.”

Here is the full letter:

President Donald Trump
Vice President Michael Pence
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
Senate Majority Leader Addison “Mitch” McConnell Senate Minority Leader Charles “Chuck” Schumer

To America’s Leaders:

We represent a cross-section of America’s economy, now and into the future. As CEOs, deans of business schools across the country, and leaders of industry organizations, we have insights into what the U.S. economy needs now, and what it will need 10, 20, and 30 years into the future.

We are helping to lead this generation of businesses and train the next generation of leaders who will succeed us. We are also urgently concerned. We do not believe the U.S. has the high-skill talent it needs, nor does it have the capacity to train enough people with those skills. Without a substantial change in our approach, this deficit of skills in key fields will hinder economic growth. The fact that our economy has created an estimated three million open STEM jobs is a positive. It speaks to the vibrancy and opportunities available in a healthy, growing economy.

Yet the fact that those jobs are unfilled — and that the U.S. is not producing enough people with the skills to fill them — is not just a negative, it’s a crisis. We are needlessly capping our growth and can do better. America remains, as President Ronald Reagan put it, “a shining city upon a hill.” The best and brightest from all around the world want to come here, and their hard work and expertise make our economy stronger and more globally competitive.

They want to provide American companies with insight into what approaches will succeed as these companies expand into foreign markets. Yet a combination of our outdated laws, artificial regional and skills-based caps on immigration, and recent spikes in hostility are closing the door to the high-skilled immigrants our economy needs to thrive. For the first time since we started keeping track of these data, the past three years have seen a reduction in the number of foreign students studying in America’s universities and business schools. Every year, we turn away hundreds of thousands of high-skilled immigrants for no other reason than that they failed to win the H-1B lottery.

We cannot allow this dangerous negative trend to continue. As leaders committed to growth in America’s economy, we know that policy reforms could usher in immense benefits. These should include:

  • Removing “per-country” visa caps, modernizing our visa processing system, and reforming the H-1B visa program to make it possible for the most talented people to have a reasonable chance of gaining entry to the United States.
  • Creating a “heartland” visa that encourages immigration to the regions of the United States that could most use the vitality of these talented individuals.

We can maintain the shimmer of our ‘shining city upon a hill’ that welcomes immigrants, as it has throughout history, to a land of opportunity. We hope you agree, and we urge you to take these recommendations seriously. We are confident that America’s future economic success depends on it, and we invite others — from academia and business — to join us in our urgent call for action.

READ MORE:

The newly passed H.R.1044 raises caps for family-based green cards (July 10, 2019)

How Netra Chavan channeled her own frustrations to build an H4 and H-1B visa support system (February 14, 2019)

RHC’s H-1B rally demands elimination of Green Card backlog, protection for ‘DALCA’ children (February 10, 2019)

Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)

Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response (January 12, 2019)

Waiting for the Wait to End: The human face of Indian immigrants caught in the Green Card backlog (December 4, 2018)

H-4 and H-1: Time for Indian immigrants to speak up on immigration policy, says author Amy Bhatt (January 5, 2019)

The unstable life of Indians on H-1B visa in the US due to visa renewal policy (October 28, 2016)

High-skilled Indian workers, DALCA kids, rally on Capitol Hill to clear green card backlog (June 15, 2018)

Reverse brain drain – the experience of three couples who moved back to India from the US (January 20, 2014)

One Comment

  1. Tanay Mishra

    Ha ha ha, these dweebs can shove their “letter” where the sun don’t shine. They better realize their odds against USTechWorkers, Anti-H1B Coalition, Americans for Immigration Reform, LULAC, CIS and other groups. Way too much abuse and fraud has been perpetrated for decades on hapless American workers by these wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Time to turn the tables on them. Messrs. Miller, Bannon, Trump will take you all to the cleaners, no questions asked. Stay tuned.

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