Washington: US President Barack Obama has made an impassioned call for immigration reform projecting it as a boost to America’s competitiveness so that China or India don’t best it as high-tech leaders.
“We don’t want the next Intel or the next Google to be created in China or India,” he said in a speech at the US-Mexican border in El Paso, Texas Tuesday. “We want those companies and jobs to take root here.”
“Reform will also help to make America more competitive in the global economy,” said Obama, noting that the US provides “students from around the world with visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities”.
“But then our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or a new industry here in the United States,” Obama said. “Instead of training entrepreneurs to stay here, we train them to create jobs for our competition.”
“In a global marketplace, we need all the talent we can attract, all the talent we can get to stay here to start businesses – not just to benefit those individuals, but because their contribution will benefit all Americans.”
“Look at Intel, look at Google, look at Yahoo, look at eBay,” Obama said. “All those great American companies, all the jobs they’ve created, everything that has helped us take leadership in the high-tech industry, every one of those was founded by, guess who, an immigrant.”
“So immigration is not just the right thing to do. It’s smart for our economy,” he said, making the case that immigration reform would have economic benefits for the middle class and for businesses while also improving national security.
“One way to strengthen the middle class in America is to reform the immigration system, so that there is no longer a massive underground economy that exploits a cheap source of labour while depressing wages for everybody else,” Obama said.
“That’s why immigration reform is an economic imperative.