us senate

A group of over a hundred business leaders in the technology industry have asked the U.S. Senate for broad immigration reform in a new letter posted by the Information Technology Industry Council today.

The letter itself, which is directly addressed to Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), asks the congressional body to approve a bill called Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, aka SB 744. Essentially, these tech leaders are trying to point out that U.S. companies desperately need new talent from overseas just to keep pace with job openings. Failure to do this will result in the U.S. losing its position as the technology industry’s world leader.

The bill’s naysayers worry that immigration reform would send the message that it’s OK for people to migrate to the U.S. even without citizenship. Constituents — many of whom are out of work or forced to take lower paying jobs — worry that allowing more immigrants to take U.S. tech jobs will make it even more difficult for current citizens to find employment. However, information collected by Mary Meeker last month indicates that this may not be true. In fact, her evidence shows the opposite actually occurs when you bring in more high-skilled workers from outside the country — meaning the businesses grow, and as a result, there’s an increase in job openings for high-skilled workers.

Plenty of leaders from well-known companies have signed the letter, including Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Zynga chief exec Mark Pincus, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

You can read the entire letter for yourself below:

“As representatives of the leading technology innovators, designers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and job creators in the United States, we write to request your support for S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.  This critically important legislation would help ensure that America continues to be the location of the world’s most innovative and fastest growing industries—those that rely on intellectual property and highly educated talent.  Your support for S. 744 will allow America to better realize opportunities for innovation and job creation today, as well as secure our economic strength in the future.

“America is the most prosperous country in the world.  The U.S. technology sector employs over 6 million Americans and contributes $1 trillion to our country’s Gross Domestic Product.  Our success stems from our historic diversity, and the constant infusion of new and innovative ideas fostered by our democratic system of education and innovation.

“We applaud the Gang of Eight, the bipartisan sponsors of S. 744, as well as the bill’s bipartisan supporters in the Senate Judiciary Committee, who have collaboratively crafted and refined a comprehensive bill that would truly modernize a broken and outdated immigration system. We strongly believe the many reforms in S. 744 that impact high skilled immigration – including key improvements in the availability of both green cards and H-1B visas – will help address the national talent shortage in the near-term, while also creating a long-term pipeline of American workers through establishing a much-needed new fund for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, including computer science education.  The bill will also protect and better prepare American workers, and enable employers and entrepreneurs of all sizes in every state to recruit and retain the world’s best talent.

Senate approval of S. 744 is essential for our economy to continue to foster innovation and invigorate many U.S. business sectors through an educated and highly skilled workforce of domestic and foreign-born talent.  Absent reform, if every American graduate receiving an advanced STEM degree gets a job, the U.S. is estimated to face at least 200,000 unfilled advanced-degree STEM jobs by 2018.   These unfilled jobs represent lost opportunities for our country, but with S. 744, we can fill these jobs, create new ones and invest in a future of economic growth.

We urge your support for S. 744, which will help to open a new path to American innovation, American economic strength, and greater opportunities for American workers.”

Photo credit: Wikimedia