20 Science Questions

that U.S. presidential candidates were asked in 2016

T​he immigration regulations regarding H-1B Visas need to be modified to reflect more accurate wages.

     Businesses are able to hire non-citizen university graduates for a $60,000 per year salary when they have a H-1B Visa. Citizens with a similar degree in this decade would expect a far larger starting salary so the H-1B Visa program requirements have not kept up with modern salaries and may be reducing the number of skilled jobs available to U.S. citizens.

     A minimal change would be to modify the language of the H-1B Visa to reflect standard starting salaries for technological jobs. Restricting immigration and deporting university student immigrants does not help innovation. Immigrant scholars help keep the U.S. at the edge of advances in technology. [1]  

     A balance needs to be maintained between encouraging academic studies and employment opportunities for both citizens and immigrants. 

     Regulations to protect the health and safety and rights of Guest Workers are needed. Businesses may save money or find that foreign workers are the only people willing to take some types of difficult or dangerous work but all workers in the United States should have the right to work with reasonable expectation of job safety and contractual wage and hours.

     Reducing the number of temporary VISAs issued for Guest Workers and increasing the pay for some of these types of jobs may help increase the number of jobs for U.S. citizens as well as helping protect wage stability within the industry or region for other U.S. workers. Low wages for some workers tends to flatten wages for many types of jobs.

     Times have changed and the ability to travel has changed. Birthright citizenship made more sense when immigrants traveled for months on ocean going ships or across the nation in covered wagons. The ease of air travel has created a class of prenatal travelers who plan their vacation time for delivering their infant within the the U.S. so that the baby will have dual citizenship. building a wall does not prevent vacationers from flying over the wall and having their baby born as a U.S. citizen.

     A family that moved permanently to the U.S. and had children born here would be different than a person flying in temporarily just in order to give birth to their expectant infant on U.S. soil but who planned to continue living and working and paying taxes in their homeland.

     Immigrants have been a vibrant part of the U.S. economy and culture throughout its history. Embracing diversity of skills and backgrounds helps support new businesses created by immigrants eager to build a new life in their new homeland.


  1. ​Xueying Han, Will They Stay or Will They Go? International Graduate Students and Their Decisions to Stay or Leave the U.S. upon Graduation, PLoS One. 2015; 10(3): e0118183. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4356591/

20 Science Questions for the 2016 Presidential Candidates  --by Shawn Otto for sciencedebate.org; See the questions here: #19.

Immigration