April 15, 2010-U.S. Voters Show Strong Support for High Skilled Immigration

Home » April 15, 2010-U.S. Voters Show Strong Support for High Skilled Immigration

Washington, DC – A recent poll conducted for TechNet, the bipartisan policy and political network of CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, demonstrates that two in three Americans support policy solutions to improve the nation’s high skilled immigration system.

According to a survey on public perceptions surrounding innovation and job creation recently conducted for TechNet by Zogby International, 66% of likely U.S. voters believe that it’s acceptable to bring in highly-skilled individuals from other nations through the nation’s legal immigration process if an American is not available to fill jobs that require high-level engineering or science skills. One-fifth of likely voters (20%) believe that the job should be left open indefinitely.

“One of the hallmarks of America has been of welcoming the best and brightest to our shores to create a better life,” said Rey Ramsey, President and CEO of TechNet. “Some of the greatest technological innovations the world has ever seen were created by people who came to this country through the legal immigration process. Companies like Google, Intel, eBay, Yahoo! and many others were founded by immigrants. These survey results show strong support for a high skilled immigration system that can help drive economic growth and job creation. High skilled immigrants play a vital role in American competitiveness abroad and job creation – we need public policies that reflect this fact.”

Additional demographic information:

Party affiliation: Political identifiers all agree on support for hiring high skilled workers as Democrats support at 69.2%, Republicans at 65.1% and Independents at 64.4%.
Age: Young people are slightly more accepting of hiring foreign workers as those 18-29 support (74.6%) while those aged 50-64 (61.2%) and 65+ (62.6%) support at lower levels.
Gender: Men are slightly more accepting of hiring foreign workers (73.8%) than women (60.6%).
Race: Slightly divergent views by race as whites support at 67.1% while Hispanics support at 71.1%, African Americans at 65.7% and Asians at 80.9%.
Rural/Walmart shoppers: Those in rural areas support at 62.5% while those who identified themselves as weekly Walmart shoppers support at 65.6%. ¿ Unions/Non-union: Those in unions support at 65.1% while those not belonging to a union support at 66.9%.
According to Duke University researchers, immigrants working in the United States have started 52% of Silicon Valley’s technology companies, one-fourth of all U.S. technology companies and contributed more than 25% of our global patents. High skilled immigrants also make up 24% of the U.S. science and engineering workforce holding bachelor’s degrees and 47% of science and engineering workers who have PhDs.

TechNet believes it is counterproductive to educate and train individuals and then send them home to compete against us. Today, roughly half of those graduating from U.S. universities at the master’s and Ph.D. levels in STEM fields are foreign nationals. For every H-1B position requested, U.S. technology companies were eventually able to create five new jobs. According to the National Foundation for American Policy, for technology firms with fewer than 5,000 employees, each H-1B position requested was credited with an increase of 7.5 workers.

The Zogby-463 survey of 4,143 likely U.S. voters was conducted from March 12-15 with a margin of error of +/- 1.6 percentage points.

About TechNet: TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of technology industries and the economy by building long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers and by advocating a targeted policy agenda. Our members are the nation’s drivers of innovation in the fields of information technology, e-commerce, clean technology, biotechnology, venture capital and investment banking – representing two million employees and $800 billion in revenues. TechNet has offices in Washington, DC, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Seattle, Boston, Austin, and Albany, NY. Web address: www.technet.org. You can also follow us on Twitter at Technetupdate@twitter.