Business

Obama makes it official: Silicon Valley lost the fight on immigration in 2014

We’ve known for a long time that Silicon Valley’s hope for immigration reform for high-skilled foreign workers is probably dead, at least until after the 2014 midterm election. Today, President Barack Obama has made it official: He won’t pressure Congress to pass a bill this year and is, instead, unilaterally taking a few actions on border security.

Speaking about the stance that Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) took on an immigration bill, Obama lamented:

“I believe Speaker Boehner when he says he wants to pass an immigration bill. I think he genuinely wants to get something done. But last week he informed me the Republicans will continue to block a vote on immigration reform at least for the remainder of this year.”

So, what does this mean for Silicon Valley? For the immediate future, there will be no major changes in the number of high-skilled immigrant visas to relieve the technology’s tech-talent shortage.

Powerful Silicon Valley lobbies could try to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority when a new Congress convenes next year. Back in 2013, the Senate passed one version of comprehensive reform, which included a big uptick in high-skilled worker visas. But since it failed in this Congress, it would need to pass it again in the new Congress after the election.

However, election forecaster Nate Silver predicts that the Republicans would take over the Senate in 2014, in which case it’s unlikely that the exact same bill would pass. So immigration reform would be back to square one with an unknown future.

Separately, there is now broad bipartisan support for high-skilled visas, including a new class of visa for startup founders. For years, Democrats have held back high-skilled-only reform because they believe the country will only get one shot at immigration.

If comprehensive reform is truly dead, it’s possible that high-skilled-only could be a plan b in the new year. That possibility is still in the concept stage, though.

For now, the most unproductive Congress in American history is living up to its name. And Silicon Valley’s billions are powerless in the face of Congress’s partisanship.


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20 comments
Pigbitin Mad
Pigbitin Mad

Good.  We should throw everyone out until unemployment is at or below 3%.  Even if there was a tech shortage (which I do not believe for a single minute) I would rather do without another overhaul of the Facebook interface if the result is I can have a paycheck again.


So Zuckerberg and all these idiots are crying.  Who cares.  They make absolutely nothing of value and quite frankly have made the world a terrible place to live.  Most of these iPhones social media companies are making the world a stupid place.


I would be run out of town if I went to another country and acted like they owed me a job.  Somehow, our stupid government acts as though these people are entitled to be here just because 200 years ago a lot of immigrants were dumped here as convicts or outcasts when the population was not completely oversaturated.


However, I would be okay with the visa program so long as the host pays $200,000 for each H1B and uses that to relocate me to India so I can work as a call center agent.  I am sure I would not get screamed at half as much by angry Americans if I were not required to read off a script.


Somehow we have to vote everyone out.  Even if it means voting in your local dog catcher.  They can't possibly do worse and would probably do better.


And we could also refuse to consume products made by Fortune 500 companies.  If we put them out of business it would allow small business to compete again.

ed  smith
ed smith

Silicon workers that are needed are about 150 compared to all the low life illegals immigrants he is letting come over the border each and every day...this man is an idiot and a total  P O S!

George Tyrebyter
George Tyrebyter

This is a horrible story filled with lies and Chamber of Commerce garbage. We have NO tech worker shortage. There is a shortage of people with 15 years experience in 12 different languages that are 23 and work 75 hrs/week and will do it for $23K AND will babysit the boss' dogs. THAT shortage is real. If you want YOUR children, American citizens, to get jobs, and want Indian youth to get jobs in India, call your rep and say "END THE H-1B! END THE J-1! END THE F-1!" There are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of jobs filled by aliens, who steal tech secrets, while our students work at Starbucks.

Jungle Trunks
Jungle Trunks

This is a massive red herring, the highly educated workers being allowed visa's has never been at issue with either party, nobody I know of is against this.  This is in essence a whiny temper tantrum position by the administration holding hostage a portion of immigration policy that there's little opposition to. This sort of thing is exactly why the hard left administration doesn't want to piece meal legislation. It's obvious this issue would be passed with flying colors. Instead it's Obama "not compromising", it's the whole enchilada or nothing for Obama. This is exactly why his poll numbers are crashing through the floor

Beth Lewis
Beth Lewis

It would be interesting to know how much Silicon Valley has invested in American colleges and universities so that we don't have to import high skilled workers from third world countries.  In NJ we pay 15-19G per year per kid in our public schools and yet kids in the India are taught at higher levels?  Something doesn't make sense.  

Marcela Ruiz
Marcela Ruiz

Maybe now we can think about hiring our AMERICAN CITIZENS?

Lizzy Wood
Lizzy Wood

You can contact Jerry Brown here Tel:(916)445-2841

Allen Parker
Allen Parker

"Halt and catch fire" while you wait to hire cheap overseas labor.

Ver Acity
Ver Acity

Another disingenuous knucklehead article deliberately confusing lawful immigrants with illegal migrants.

I wonder why they didn't explain why 15 million uneducated, non English speaking, illegal migrants could help Silicon valleys growth?

These articles and the authors are just inexcusable apologists for illegal criminals.

Silicon Valley may need highly qualified, lawful immigrants but it has zero need for illiterate unskilled migrant criminals.

Superbike Gsxr
Superbike Gsxr

one story says 60,000 have entered the country this year alone and another says they are all being released into our hoods, another says there are none..


bottom line is we CANNOT depend on the media for FACTS!

Gary Throckmorton
Gary Throckmorton

Tech talent shortage?  Really?  No there is a bias against paying higher wages to US citizens.  Tech firms are spreading lies to keep their CEOs super wealthy and depressing wages for American workers.

Robert Hankey
Robert Hankey

The only reason Silicon Valley can not find the workers they need is they don't want to pay them. H1B allows commodity engineers to come into the US tied to one company unable to move from Job to Job keeping the salary low. I work for a large Tech company every year we bring in american kids to fill Co-op positions from different University, then we turn around and hire an H1B visa worker instead of making any of the Co-ops a job offers. 

Robert Thomas
Robert Thomas

Just because the senate approved a bill does not mean the house agrees with it. On the other hand,that funding group in the house, the house of representatives sent back what would be approved. And the senate would not hear of it. So it is the Senate of Congress that is to blame. They would not even put it to a vote. They are lying to the people and many are not paying attention to the truth.

Christopher Cossette
Christopher Cossette

Silicon Valley wants cheap labor from savage nations like India and Pakistan.  H1B visas programs are a waste of time.  These "jobs" should be going to AMERICAN workers anyhow. Screw the Silicon Valley Lobby..............

John Kling
John Kling

What should concern all is that Obama is saying that he is changing the law without a bill passed by Congress.

The Constitution does not give the President the right to change law should Congress not pass legislation that he supports.

George Tyrebyter
George Tyrebyter

@Beth Lewis Indian education sucks. There is massive pervasive cheating, and sometimes there are riots when the cheating is stopped. The method is the popular "drill and kill" memorization method. I have worked with some Indians, and there is NO innovative ability there.

Dwight Knight
Dwight Knight

Is Obama trying to destroy the Constitution and the United States of America?  Why does he ask for billions to give to criminals who are invading our country and aiding in its destruction when our military and our veterans who have fought to preserve the US and its constitution are given ever smaller portions of our tax money?   Why are our own citizens who are living in poverty not allocated money to help them improve their situation?  Do we not have tens of thousands of children of our own who don't have enough to eat?  Where is the president's concern for these people?   Money is given to illegals to help further their education.  There are many who can't afford to continue their education who deserve this help, and they are citizens.  Our overloaded medical services, schools, and welfare systems can't service citizens because of the huge numbers of criminals who are permitted to access them without question as to their legality.  When laws are passed by individual states to address these concerns, the Supreme Court slaps them down.  Obama does not bear the total blame for these conditions.  Our whole governmental system needs to be strongly reminded whom they were elected to represent.  That is the citizens of the United States of America.  If the current representatives won't do it, then we need to elect people who will.



Deb Smith
Deb Smith

@Dwight Knight  Obama is shooting himself in the foot. With all his arrogance the American people will vote the power of the democrats out in November in order to stop Obamas lawlessness