Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington D.C. think tank that advocates for lower immigration levels, said the type of brilliant immigrants who create high numbers of American jobs, don't have trouble getting green cards.
"We're not talking about Einsteins here," he said. "The question really boils down to, should getting a master's degree earn you a green card? I say absolutely not. Immigration to the U.S. is something we should reserve for special talents, for people who are remarkable in their fields."
The current immigration system accomplishes that, he said. Employment-based green cards are passed out in tiers. Of those available to high priority workers — those who exhibit extraordinary abilities — about 10,000 go unused every year. It's at the next tier down, which includes people who hold advanced college degrees, that things get backed up.
It remains to be seen whether Banaei's invention will qualify him as a priority worker or he will have to get in line behind thousands of other Ph.D. graduates.
He is watching the debate with bated breath.
"Ideally, I would like to see my product go to market in the U.S.," he said. "I'm hoping we can find a way to do that."
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