US to welcome best and brightest: Obama

Prez Obama has pledged to fix America`s "broken" immigration system to ensure that the US will remain a magnet for the best and the brightest from countries like India.

Last Updated: Jul 02, 2010, 18:30 PM IST

Washington: President Barack Obama has
pledged to fix America`s "broken" immigration system to ensure
that the US will remain a magnet for the best and the
brightest from countries like India.

In his first major policy speech on the thorny issue of
immigration, Obama revealed the broad contours of his vision
of reform, which if implemented would be helpful to hundreds
and thousands of people from countries like India, who are
professionals and law abiding and add value to the American
society.

"We should make it easier for the best and the
brightest to come to start businesses and develop products and
create jobs. Our laws should respect families following the
rules, instead of splitting them apart," he said on his third
major domestic agenda after health care and financial reforms.

He said the presence of about 11 million illegal
immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are going through
the process of immigrating legally.

"Indeed, after years of patchwork fixes and ill-conceived
revisions, the legal immigration system is as broken as the
borders. Backlogs and bureaucracy means the process can take
years," he observed.

He said the steady stream of talented people has made
America the engine of the global economy and a beacon of hope
around the world.

"It has allowed us to adapt and thrive in the face of
technological and societal change. To this day, America reaps
incredible economic rewards because we remain a magnet for the
best and brightest from across the globe," Obama said.

He said the system should stop penalising innocent young
people for the actions of their parents, by denying them the
chance to stay and contribute to build the country.

He noted that immigration reform has been held hostage
to political posturing and special interest wrangling and to
the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a
thorny and emotional issue is inherently bad politics.

Obama said besides addressing the issue of illegal
immigrants, a reformed system also needs to address the need
for talented people to stay and contribute to the country.

"While we provide students from around the world visas
to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top
universities, our laws discourage them from using those skills
to start a business or power a new industry right here in the
United States," Obama said.

"It is this constant flow of immigrants that helped to
make America what it is: the scientific breakthroughs of
Albert Einstein, the inventions of Nikola Tesla, the great
ventures of Andrew Carnegie`s US Steel and Sergey Brin`s
Google Link. All this was possible because of immigrants," he
argued.

PTI