Raja Krishnamoorthi says H1-B not responsible for U.S. unemployment

Illinois Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi says unemployment in the U.S. cannot be laid at the door of highly skilled foreign workers employed in American companies. The Congressman was speaking at an interactive “Community Dialogue” series hosted by the US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) recently, along with immigration lawyer Rajiv S. Khanna.

The interaction focused on issues surrounding Trump Administration’s immigration reform and its impact on US-India relations. In response to questions about the H-1B visa and family immigration, Krishnamoorthi emphasized that America was a country of immigrants. And while there is a shortage of skilled labor, reform would be needed to attract highly professional work force vital to the country’s economy, he said according to a press release from USINPAC. He warned that a hostile immigration environment might make IT companies move jobs offshore.

Skilled immigration should figure in the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, during the impending visit of the Indian leader, Krishnamoorthi said. Congressman Krishnamoorthi did not think H1B visa program is to blame for massive US unemployment, the press release said. Regarding worker shortage in the Silicon Valley, the Krishnamoorthi said if President Trump wants to grow the U.S. economy at 3-4%, immigration reform must not be reckless, and should not fail to retain and attract high tech workers in sectors such as artificial intelligence and big data.

Khanna suggested a detailed economic, statistical and legal bipartisan study on the effects and benefits of the H1B program to close the gap between perception and reality. Krishnamoorthi agreed, the study would guide policymakers on how to grow the nation’s talent pool. Krishnamoorthi has co-sponsored a bill that calls for revoking the per- country caps for H1B visa, and favors both skill-based and family immigration.

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