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The United States needs millions more qualified people to fill open jobs, and immigration is a vital part of filling that gap, Jamie Merisotis says.
The Lumina Foundation president and CEO appeared this week on SiriusXM POTUS 124, “The Morning Briefing with Tim Farley.”
“The problem is that we really haven’t modernized our immigration strategies, because they’ve been so focused on these questions of border security and other issues,” Merisotis said of national leaders.
That focus has “really made this such a political hot-button issue that we’re failing to meet our demands for talent.” Merit-based immigration proposals aren’t enough, he said.
“What we need to think about here is how we attract talent at the low, the middle and the high end. We need to make sure that we benefit from the best of what immigrants bring, in terms of their ability to contribute to our society.”
Merisotis said a disproportionate number of U.S. entrepreneurs are actually immigrants.
“Many of them don’t have a college education when they get here. They get that education when they arrive, so I think it’s false to say that should only focus on the merit side.”