Stop-gap for Skilled Foreign Students

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Foreign math and engineering students are greatly prized by many American businesses. Every April 1st, banks, hospitals and other major institutions compete for 85,000 H-B1 visas that allow highly educated, non-immigrant visitors to stay in the US for three years. If this past week's applications were anything like 2007, they were gone within minutes. But, this past Friday, Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff announced the extension of a loophole that allows businesses to attract and retain these skilled foreign workers. Under the "Optional Practical Training" exemption, a student can now stay here up to 29 months. John Reebel of University Heights is an American-born IT professional who isn't happy with the plan.

REEBEL: I know of many people over 50 with great skills who were laid off and their jobs were outsourced.

Cleveland Immigration attorney Richard Herman says it's a new world, and we can't turn back the clock.

HERMAN: There are many jobs that we can't fill, because the colleges aren't graduating math and science majors.

Political pundits are predicting the the entire issue of immigration --- both legal and illegal --- is likely to be a hot-button topic in the presidential campaign, this fall.

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