Delivering the keynote address at the recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Immigration and Competitiveness Conference, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for fewer restrictions on green cards and visas for business- and education-related immigration.
Drawing attention to figures showing 85 percent of visas are granted for family reunification reasons, Bloomberg said a greater proportion must be given to entrepreneurs and other high-skill workers.
The mayor dismissed concerns that increased temporary worker visas means jobs will go to immigrants rather than U.S. citizens, saying union jobs are actually generated by foreign nationals who come to the United States and innovate new products to be manufactured.
Bloomberg also said the policy of capping visas on a per-country basis does not make sense and Congress should revamp the visa system. He proposed that graduate students in certain math and science fields be awarded green cards automatically.
The mayor’s speech has drawn criticism from immigration reform hardliners like Roy Beck, president of the group NumbersUSA.
The Talk Radio News Service quoted Beck as saying, “It’s very offensive to the parents of today’s high school students and college students for Mayor Bloomberg to continually go around and say that these American children are not worthy of getting the jobs when they get out of college, but instead we need to have a whole lot more foreign students come in and take those jobs.”