A picture of Senator Amy Klobuchar
Amy K.
Democrat MN

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  • Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

    by Senator Amy Klobuchar

    Posted on 2013-01-29

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    KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I wish to thank Senator Rubio and Senator Coons. I also thank the Senator from Utah for his incredible leadership. We have worked as a team. I think that is what this is, a team--team America. We must be a country that makes stuff again, invents things, and exports to the world. In order to do that, we need the world's talent, and that is what this bill is about.

    As everyone can see by looking at the four of us here on the Senate floor, it is something on which both parties can agree. In order to get this done and get comprehensive immigration reform done, we must work in a bipartisan manner. I support the comprehensive immigration principles that were outlined yesterday for reform and look forward to working with my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee to get this done.

    The I-squared bill is about encouraging engineers, inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs to work here in this country and discouraging companies from contracting out with people in other countries. I cannot say how many Minnesota companies--small companies-- have told me that they could not bring someone over because of the caps and they contracted with that person in another country. Well, guess what. That person then hired assistants and other people to work with them, but in one case they hired French people instead of hiring Americans.

    In fact, a recent study headed by Mayor Bloomberg of New York, Mayor Castro of San Antonio, Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia, and others showed that every H-1B visa creates 1.8 American jobs. Those are jobs in Hawaii and those are jobs in Minnesota.

    Take a look at the Fortune 500 companies. Ninety of those companies were founded by immigrants, and over 200 were founded by immigrants or their children, including Medtronic and 3M in my home State. This has meant an extraordinary number of good American jobs, and we want more. We want the next pacemaker or Post-it note, which were invented in my State, to be invented again in the United States of America.

    I want to quickly lay out the four areas of reform that are included in the I-squared bill.

    First of all, we reformed the H-1B visa system to meet the needs of a growing science, engineering, tech, and medical community and to help the workers who form the backbone of those businesses.

    Second, we make changes to student visas to encourage students who get degrees here to stay in this country so we don't just say: Hey, go back to India or China or some other country and start the next Google over there. We want them to start it here.

    Third, we improve the green card system.

    Finally, and one of the most important aspects of this bill, we actually change the visa funding structure so that companies that bring in these high-tech and science and engineering immigrant workers will also be spending some money on funding all of the education efforts we need to do in this country for science, engineering, technology, and math, the STEM education that is going on in this country. Even by a conservative estimate, that would be $300 million a year and something like $3 billion in 10 years. That is real change, and it can change the system.

    I am very appreciative of the work of my colleagues. I know Senator Rubio, who has shown great leadership on this issue, is next and will talk about the H-1B and student visa reforms. I thank Senator Hatch and Senator Coons for their leadership on this issue. We are very excited about moving ahead on this bill.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.

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