In view of the significant relationship between IT, innovation and the retention of highly skilled workers in the United States, CompTIA was invited to attend a Community Leader Briefing on Immigration Reform last week at the White House.
While the event carried heightened attention on the heels of the Obama Administration decision to temporarily suspend deportations of certain qualified young people, our attention was squarely on the issue of retaining highly skilled workers who have obtained a certain level of STEM education in the U.S.
CompTIA has heard from some of its partners in the tech community, specifically those on the TechVoice Council, about this issue. The White House briefing provided a perfect opportunity to learn more about the Administration perspectives on the issue and how it may affect industry.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from Cecilia Munoz, assistant to the president and director of domestic policy. Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, also spoke at length about the steps Homeland Security is taking to address immigration issues and why the administration action taken the previous week was important.
What we could glean from these presentations is that the Administration is supportive of a productive and talented workforce. Still, one only needs to read the disparate reactions to the President’s broader action on deportation of young people to understand that highly skilled immigration is swept up in a very complicated debate that seems unlikely to be resolved in the short term.
All in all, this briefing seemed to bring awareness to the White House and its staff about the need for highly skilled workers in the workplace, particularly those with STEM education-related degrees. To that end, the Office of Citizenship and Immigration announced plans to help students with STEM degrees remain in the U.S. longer.
CompTIA’s Public Advocacy team will continue to follow this issue and analyze what it may mean for the IT industry in the near future. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Matthew L. Evans, manager, public advocacy, CompTIA, at MEvans@comptia.org.