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Caterpillar CEO pushes for immigration reform

Thu, 25 Apr 2013 11:04:51 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

The Chairman of Caterpillar is part of a coalition that is now hailing introduction of immigration reform legislation. Doug Oberhelman spoke recently before the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition saying his Peoria-based company sees a lot of lot of bright young interns and college graduates who are foreign born.

"We want to hire them. They want to stay and make a contribution to our country, but it's not easy. The process is tedious. Some Cat employees in engineering from India and China have been waiting for more than eight years for a green card that would give them permanent residency."
Oberhelman says it's a challenge to company success.

And many times we lose them. And others are not even allowed to stay at all. We have trained these individuals and in return we ask them to kindly leave the United States. It's wrong. And to make it worse, they sometimes go to work for our global competitors."

Oberhelman says when he joined caterpillar in 1975, there was one non american competitor in his business. Today there are more than 100 in China alone, which makes human talent a key to success. Oberhelman says more than a quarter of the doctoral graduates in math and technical fields in the U-S were born overseas. He says those graduates create lower unemployment rates for Americans in the same specialty. And every such highly skilled technical job, Oberhelman says, supports two and a half other jobs in the economy.

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