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Hatch warns of tech industry clout in immigration debate

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Industry and unions » Hatch has the support of a broad range of business interests from Internet companies such as Facebook to manufacturers like Caterpillar, who complain that there are not enough homegrown workers to fulfill their needs.

On the other side of the debate are unions worried about American jobs and the impact more foreign workers may have on wages.

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"We deemed the current language in the bill to be the compromise. After all, high tech got an awful lot of what it wanted, including the visa limit going up nearly threefold," AFL-CIO immigration chief Tom Snyder told the Associated Press. "Now they want to compromise the compromise."

David Kirkham, owner of Kirkham Motors in Utah, said if people are abusing the H-1B visas then Congress should take steps to stop that, but he supported Hatch’s attempts to boost the access to foreign workers.

He said he can’t find enough workers who can do computer-assisted drafting.

Among Hatch’s allies on the committee is Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who has offered his own amendments related to the H-1B provisions but will defer to the state’s senior senator to work out a deal.

"This is still the epicenter for the high-tech world and a great place to live," he said. "Bringing those people here will help to ensure our continued dominance in the high-tech world and I think that actually protects American jobs."


Twitter: @mattcanham

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