January 31, 2012, 1:47 PM — President Barack Obama faced perhaps his toughest and most direct question ever on the H-1B program by a Texas woman during an online town hall Monday.
The woman, Jennifer Weddel, was polite and direct but tenacious in getting the president to reveal some of his views about the H-1B program when she asked: "Why does the government continue to issue and extend H-1b visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?" Her husband is a semiconductor engineer.
Weddel succeeded in getting Obama to acknowledge that there should be limits to the H-1B program.
The visa "should be reserved only for those companies that say they cannot find somebody in that particular field," Obama said.
The Obama administration has argued that the U.S. is in need of engineers, especially in high tech and has outlined a plan to train 10,000 new engineers.
Here's the transcript of the section involving Weddel's question to Obama's during Google+ Hangout session:
Weddel: My husband has an engineering degree with over 10 years of experience and he was laid off three years ago and has yet to find a permanent job in his field. My question to you is why does the government continue to issue and extend H-1b visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?