Executives and Academics Call for More Green Cards, Visas

Business executives and university presidents recently gathered at the Bloomberg News headquarters in Washington, D.C., for a private roundtable discussion about what immigration reforms are most needed and how to effect those policy changes.

The business leaders and academics agreed that the government should encourage the immigration of highly skilled workers to the United States by increasing the number of employment-based green cards and visas issued each year, Bloomberg reported.

James Goodnight, CEO of technology company SAS Institute, said his company would potentially employ 10,000 more foreign-born master’s degree holders if the United States increased visas for this demographic, according to Bloomberg. Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, warned that enrollment of international students will wane if they perceive poor job prospects in the United States after graduation.

To effect change, some panelists said Congress should handle the visa increases independent of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, Bloomberg reported. To create buy-in for the raised visa caps, Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, said advocates have to more persuasively explain the economic benefits of legal immigration.

The roundtable was held a week after New York City Mayor and Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg gave a speech calling for more skilled-worker green cards and student visas.