Local Tech Industry Backs 'Merit Based' Immigration Proposal

The U.S. immigration policy has long given priority to people with ties to American citizens, but under President Donald Trump that could be changing, and some in the tech community think that could help close the worker gap.

Speaking on Congress this week, Trump signaled a change that would put skilled or experienced workers at the front of the line.

“Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, will have many benefits: it will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families --- including immigrant families --- enter the middle class,” he said.

Tito Salas, who has worked at San Antonio's Geekdom to connect South Texas to Mexican startups, says, under the current visa system, it's hard to import the type of workers needed here under the current Visa system.

"Even though you have a sponsor and the qualifications, you still have to be one of the lucky ones," he says.  "This is 23 percent of all the applicants."

Salas says there are currently 200,000 jobs added to the IT industry every year.  Meanwhile only 100,000 students are being trained.  Every year, it's harder to find qualified tech talent.  I

n Mexico, though, he says there is a pool of 500,000 experienced IT workers, and some of those would love to come here.

But, he shares the concern of those who worry that the change to a merit based immigration system would shut out less-educated workers who fill vital jobs, such as farm and restaurant workers.

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