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Immigration continues to be a big issue nationwide and within our state. What are you seeing with respect to immigration, and would you care to share your solution to the problem?

Then there is a cap and you have to go through a lottery. Then you have expiration dates that you have to adhere to.

One of the reasons nobody is looking at [H-1B visas] is because when you turn on the television all you see is what's happening at the border, and that in-your-face is really worrisome to society in general. 1 don't think there is going to be any spotlight shined on this until we deal with this other issue that's in our face on a daily basis.

WHALEN: [There] are two potential solutions that are very viable from the business perspective, one of which is guest-worker programs. Utah has a guest-worker program ready to go, but it's not to be implemented until we get permission from the federal government to issue guest-worker visas. This will be key to getting the workforce we need, especially in industries that rely upon foreign labor, like the service industry or manufacturing.

The second solution that would be wise to look at is creating some avenue for those people who are already here in an undocumented status to go through the steps to gain legal status. That's a very difficult philosophical hurdle to get over. Most of these undocumented workers are willing to pay the money, go through the process, and go through the steps that are necessary to gain legal status. But as our system now exists, there is no avenue available.

DYCHES: The bigger issue in today's labor shortage environment is the H-1B visa and when we're going to increase the number of the best and brightest coming to the U.S. We are losing out to competitors like Canada, Australia and England, who have an easier way for the really skilled people of the world to come to their country than we do. In many industries, like IT and biosciences, it's very difficult to get the best and brightest who want to be in America. We are spending a whole bunch of time talking about lower-skilled employees, when the focus ought to be on how to bring the best and brightest to America who really want to be here and are doing it the right way but finding roadblocks.

OLSEN: My solution is once we get them here, as soon as they get that degree, we give them citizenship immediately. They do not have to leave the country. Once our best scientists and mathematicians graduate, let's keep them.

ATVVOOD: I want to respectfully disagree with a couple of points, maybe because I'm originally from Central America. I'm not an undocumented worker, but I'm coming from that perspective. ... That's why I respectfully disagree with the point that H-1B is the only way. We also need to look at the existing problem. We can't just turn our heads. What about the younger ones who want to go get an education, that want to go be the scientists, that want to go do IT? ... We have to look at the avenues of those undocumented citizens as well and do something. We can't just focus it primarily on one or the other.

SCHENK: We need to realize our nation's economy is now built on all these undocumented workers living here. If we were to suddenly suck all of those people out, what would happen to our economy? It's a bigger picture than just looking at undocumented workers. It's something we have allowed as a society and as a government to happen. We need to correct it in the best way that it's going to be helpful to everybody and not create a bigger economic problem within our country. We are just recovering from a recession. Think of what would happen if suddenly we were to make unwise decisions and have a vacuum suck out a million people. It would be devastating.

HERRING: I might be the cynic here, but if we could focus on this issue from a business perspective, we could solve it. If we could get it out of the political arena, we could solve it as a business problem. That's where it gets clouded.
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Comment:Immigration continues to be a big issue nationwide and within our state.
Author:Dash, Michael
Publication:Utah Business
Date:Oct 1, 2014
Words:683
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