In an April 4 letter, a reader argued against Sen. Angus King’s co-sponsorship of the Immigration Innovation Act. As the Maine factory manager for Texas Instruments, I’d like to highlight the benefits of this legislation.

The act makes important changes to ensure that U.S. companies have access to technical talent graduating from U.S. universities. Electrical engineers are at the heart of our business at TI, enabling us to compete globally with innovative products.

In 2014, according to the Engineering Workforce Commission, foreign nationals accounted for 64 percent of those who earned master’s degrees from U.S. electrical engineering programs and 68 percent of those who earned doctorates.

We hire these graduates intending to harness this talent permanently for TI’s leadership. Current law prohibits us from sponsoring these students directly for U.S. permanent resident status, so we must use H-1Bs. Otherwise, they will compete against us at foreign companies. Several Maine employers face similar challenges, including universities, hospitals and pharmacies.

TI’s South Portland facility manufactures diverse analog semiconductor products for the medical, automotive, mobile, energy and industrial sectors. TI has made significant investments in this facility recently to enhance and extend our high-tech manufacturing operations.

Although our Maine site employs very few foreign nationals, the manufacturing jobs and investments here are sustained by the products that electrical engineers design at other TI locations, primarily in California, Texas and Arizona. Some of these engineers are foreign nationals, whose graduate research was sponsored by U.S. semiconductor companies.


For TI, science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals (both U.S. and foreign national) are essential to our ability to innovate, grow and succeed. We strongly support STEM education through our Power of STEM grants in Maine schools and our volunteer engineers engaging Portland-area students in STEM activities, including robotics.

We deeply appreciate Sen. King’s leadership on STEM issues and on co-sponsoring the Immigration Innovation Act.

Chris Joyce

Texas Instruments

South Portland

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