Thursday, May 19, 2011

Daniels, Pawlenty Supported More H-1B Visas

In 2007, thirteen governors, eight Democrats and five Republicans, sent a letter to Congress asking for an increase in H-1B visas and green cards. The signers of this letter include two possible Republican candidates for president: Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels. Texas Governor Rick Perry, another possible GOP candidate, also signed this letter. The other two Republican signers were Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Jim Gibbons of Nevada.

This letter states that more high-skilled temporary workers were important for the nation's economic success, claiming a shortage of high-skilled domestic workers for math and science professions.

Democratic governors who signed off on this letter include two future members of the Obama administration: Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. The other Democratic signers are Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Chris Gregoire of Washington, Eliot Spitzer of New York, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Bill Ritter of Colorado, and Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming.

Pawlenty has had some tough talk on illegal immigration, while Daniels has been on the record supporting some of the mass legalizations of "undocumented immigrants" proposed under President Bush; he demanded major reforms for an Arizona-style immigration bill that passed the Indiana Senate but ended up signing a measure mandating more checks to ensure the legality of potential employees.

It remains to be seen how much immigration will be an issue for the 2012 Republican primary. Illegal immigration is an issue the grassroots and many independents have passionate feelings about, but the Republican nominee of 2008 was perhaps the Republican most strongly identified with attempts to pass mass legalizations. John McCain was able to step away from his history with a few vague declarations about how he supported enforcement first, even though he continued to emphasize the need for some kind of "comprehensive immigration reform."

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