Smith last year pitched a bill to make up to 55,000 STEM visas available for advanced degree graduates of U.S. universities. But it lacked White House support because it didn't meet its goal of comprehensive immigration reform.
Wadhwa, who has long advocated for more liberal green card and temporary visa policies, argued that immigrants are playing a critical role in creating new companies and infusing the U.S. with the talent critical to maintaining its lead in technology development.
"We can solve the world's grand challenges, and immigration is one of the keys to making it happen," said Wadhwa, who said increased immigration can help grow the U.S. economy.
Arora, a medical doctor, told of his long history of immigration limbo.
He said it took him 15 years to get the green card he received in 2011.
The immigration process is so backlogged that the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Service is now working on green card applications made in 2004, said Arora. The current immigration process, he contended, takes a toll "on professionals and their families."
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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