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Immigration attorney: Skilled workers crucial to business economy

BY DOUG STUMP Published: June 22, 2013

Instead of forging ahead with your great idea, you can't hire enough of the people with the skills you need to get off the ground.

This scenario isn't made up. As an immigration lawyer with more than 30 years' experience here in Oklahoma, this is the sort of economically damaging nonsense that our dysfunctional immigration policy leads to. Every day we shoot ourselves in the foot by sending these STEM students away when they would rather stay here, get a good job, and have a chance to contribute to our society and economy.

In recent years, the United States has slipped from the top to about 21st in the development of new technologies. It's easy to see why.

We need an immigration law that reflects the fact we're in the 21st century. We need policies that will help our country grow and flourish, rather than hand over the best and the brightest to other nations while U.S. employers helplessly watch the talent leaving our shores. That great idea might get developed to its full potential in the future, but with our backward immigration system, it's far more likely to happen somewhere else in the world.

Stump, of Oklahoma City, is president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.