Microsoft tells lawmakers to reform high-skill immigration

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But Ronil Hira, a professor of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, argued that foreign workers are actually displacing American workers in the technology industry. 

“For at least the past five years the employers receiving the most H-1B and L-1 visas are using them to offshore tens of thousands of high-wage, high-skilled American jobs,” Hira said, referring to visa programs aimed at recruiting high-skilled workers. He said the technology industry is suffering from job losses along with the rest of the economy.  

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThe Trail 2016: Trump works to widen his appeal Dem challenger launches first TV ads in race to unseat Grassley Dem wants hearing on EpiPen price hikes MORE (R-Iowa) said companies should hire American workers before turning to foreigners. He asked Smith, “Why is it so much to ask for your company to look for American workers first and foremost?” 

Smith argued further bureaucratic restrictions on hiring foreign workers would hamper businesses.  

Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump, GOP see gold in Clinton Foundation attacks Sessions: Trump 'wrestling' with immigration issue Cotton: Clinton Foundation having 'fire sale' for access MORE (R-Ala.) took Smith to task for Microsoft’s role in supporting comprehensive immigration reform.

“I just have to say to my high-tech friends, you guys made a mistake when you endorsed a bill that did little for high-tech workers that basically would have undermined the lawfulness of our immigration system,” Sessions said.

Democrats and Republicans agreed reforming high-skill immigration programs should be a priority.

“If we agreed to deal with this problem, we could fix this,” Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's 12:30 Report Top Republican questions Lynch on Clinton Foundation probe Baby dies of Zika in Texas MORE (R-Texas) said. But he expressed skepticism for the prospects of comprehensive immigration reform that Democrats on the panel said they preferred.

"This is an area that America aches for reform," said Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerRubio primary challenger loans campaign M Is Trump deliberately throwing the election to Clinton? Why Khizr Khan needs a Democrat in the White House MORE (D-N.Y.).