Technology companies and organizations across the country are taking advantage of the August Congressional recess to urge lawmakers to support immigration reform when they return to the nation's capital next month.
The nationwide effort to build support for immigration reform, particularly as it relates to high-skilled immigration reform and new visas for STEM advanced degree graduates, is spearheaded by TechVoice, TECNA and CompTIA.
"Today's immigration system needs to be updated to accommodate for an ever-changing economy and hypercompetitive global marketplace," said Maxine Baller, president and CEO, New Jersey Technology Council. "By doing nothing, we are in danger of threatening our future productivity, ingenuity, and the competitiveness of key sectors of our economy, including technology."
By the end of the August recess, 14 state-based tech organizations will have held at least 35 meetings and roundtables with their representatives – both Democrats and Republicans – to encourage their support for a balanced, workable immigration system. More than 136 companies are participating in this effort from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.
"Although our concerns lie in the high-skilled realm, we support comprehensive reform, either as one large package or through piece-meal legislation that is put together down the road," said Steve Zylstra, chairman of TECNA and president of the Arizona Technology Council. "We encourage the House and Senate to work together to iron out their differences in content and approach and to come up with a solution that helps us drive innovation, build our local economies and move forward in this 21st century."
"We can build a long-term pipeline of American workers for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related jobs – jobs that are critical to America's economic growth," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA. "Many of CompTIA's members are small and medium-sized technology firms that benefit from a strong pipeline of talent throughout the industry."