America's First Desi President Speaks on H-1b and Immigration
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Barack Obama identifies strongly with South Asian Immigrants.

He was recently interviewed with the Indo-Asian News Service . Some of the points that may be of interest to readers:

A: Revolutions in communications and technology have sent jobs wherever there's an internet connection, and have forced workers in Chicago and Boston to compete for those jobs with workers in Bangalore and Beijing. We live in a more competitive world, and that is a fact that cannot be reversed. We know that we cannot and should not put up walls around our economy. But we must find a way to make globalisation and trade work for American workers.

The American worker needs to be supported and given the tools needed to compete in the global economy. So I would pursue common-sense measures such as offering tax incentives to companies that create jobs in the United States, undertaking policies, such as supporting growth sectors like renewable energy and building up our infrastructure, that will lead to creation of well-paying jobs, and, most importantly, investing in education and job re-training programmes. The United States has faced fundamental economic challenges before and it has met them by expanding opportunity outward, growing our middle class, and investing in the education and well-being of our workers.

Q: Are you worried about the fragile polity in Pakistan coupled with the looming presence of terror networks? Would you continue to consider Pakistan as a trusted ally?

A: I want to build a broad-based and lasting relationship with the people of Pakistan - not just temporary alliances with their government. While the US and Pakistan must continue to work together to combat terrorism that has claimed innocent lives in both countries and to destroy the terrorist sanctuaries along the Afghan-Pakistani border, I will make helping Pakistan tackle critical challenges like illiteracy, poverty, and lack of health care a key priority including by increasing aid in these areas. I will stand up for democratic institutions, civil society and judicial independence in Pakistan. I cosponsored legislation with Senator Lugar to triple non-military assistance to Pakistan and sustain it for the next decade.

Q: What are your views on the demand made by several US companies including Microsoft that the US needs to increase the number of work visas (H1B) to protect its technological leadership?

A: I support comprehensive immigration reform that includes improving our visa programmes, including the H-1B programme, to attract some of the world's most talented people to America. I would like to see immigrant workers less dependent on their employers for their right to stay in the country, and would hold accountable employers who abuse the system and their workers.[ India will have 'top priority' during Obama's presidency Ashok Easwaran ]

Open Secrets, recently reported that that the H-1b intensive industry categories of Finance/Insurance/Real Estate-and Communications/Electronics are the number 2 and 3 major contributors to Barack Obama's campaign of the 12 major categories they track.
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