Trump: 'I'm Changing' on Visas for Highly Skilled Workers

By Susan Jones | March 4, 2016 | 5:29am EST
Republicans Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, argue a point during the presidential primary debate at Fox Theatre, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

( - Republican Donald Trump nows says "we need highly skilled people in this country," so he's "changing" and "softening" his position on H1-B visas.

At Thursday night's debate hosted by Fox News, moderator Megyn Kelly noted that Trump's campaign website says that more visas for highly skilled workers would "decimate American workers." But at one of the Republican debates, Trump "spoke enthusiastically in favor of these visas. So, which is it?" Kelly asked.

"I'm changing. I'm changing," Trump responded. "We need highly skilled people in this country, and if we can't do it, we'll get them in. But, and we do need in Silicon Valley, we absolutely have to have.

"So, we do need highly skilled, and one of the biggest problems we have is people go to the best colleges. They'll go to Harvard, they'll go to Stanford, they'll go to Wharton, as soon as they're finished they'll get shoved out. They want to stay in this country. They want to stay here desperately, they're not able to stay here. For that purpose, we absolutely have to be able to keep the brain power in this country.

"So you're abandoning the position on your website," Kelly said.

"I'm changing it, and I'm softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country."

Moderator Kelly also challenged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for flip-flopping on the H1-B visa program.

She noted that "not long ago, you proposed quintupling the number of these foreign worker visas," but after announcing his presidential bid, he reversed himself, citing abuse in the program -- abuse that was well-known well before he changed his mind.

"Well, the abuse of the H1-B program has been rampant," Cruz responded. "On the face of that H1-B abuse, I have proposed, and promised as president, that I will impose a 180-day moratorium on the H1-B program to implement a comprehensive investigation and audit because you got U.S. companies that are firing American workers, bringing in foreign workers, and forcing them to train their replacements.

"And, I would note that is not dissimilar to what we discovered at the last debate concerning the hotel that Donald owns down in Florida. Down in Florida, that hotel has brought in hundreds of foreign workers, and afterwards it was really striking.

"I watched the CNN interview Donald did where he explained, he said, well the problem is you can't find Americans who are qualified, or who want to work as waiters and waitresses. Now, let me ask the people here, how many people have worked as a waiter or waitress?

"Millions across this country. That is an astonishing statement. You know, Marco's Dad started as a bartender. My Dad started washing dishes, and yet, you know how many Americans wanted those jobs?

"Roughly 300 applied, Donald hired 17." Cruz accused Trump of "repeatedly hiring illegal aliens" and "abusing American workers."

Trump, responding, said he's hired tens of thousands of people, most of them "from this country." He said his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach has a short, five-month season, and "people don't want a short-term job." He said that's why he brings in foreign workers -- "all done legally."

"We bring people in, we bring them out. We want to hire as many Americans as we can, but they don't want part-time, very short part-time jobs."

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