Statement From Bill Gates on Senate Passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

REDMOND, Wash. — May 25, 2006 — “By passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation today that makes prudent adjustments to the annual H1-B visa and green card caps for high skilled employees, the U.S. Senate has taken a critical step forward in its important work to ensure that our nation remains the global leader in technology innovation.

“Today, U.S. technology companies face difficult challenges in hiring and retaining highly skilled workers for key positions. This threatens our ability to innovate and compete, and ultimately to generate new jobs here in the United States. Under current H1-B visa and green card caps, scientists and engineers who would like to use their skills to help U.S. companies succeed instead will work in countries where immigration policies welcome highly skilled workers. The fact is that for the United States to remain competitive, we must first be able to compete globally for talent.

“I applaud the Senate for recognizing that U.S. competitiveness depends on our ability to recruit and retain the world’s best minds, no matter where they are from. In particular, I commend Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) for his critical leadership on this issue. I’m hopeful that these crucial provisions will be included in the final immigration bill that emerges from the Senate-House conference and is ultimately sent to the president.”

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