On Monday, leaders in technology announced the launch of a new effort designed to pressure lawmakers to enact the comprehensive immigration reform they deem as crucial to the future success of tech in the United States. A group that includes the former heads of AOL and Mozilla has organized a virtual march on Washington for immigration reform that they hope will inundate lawmakers with social media messages expressing support for technology and industry in this country and urging action to change current U.S. immigration policy.
In particular, organizers of the virtual “March for Innovation” advocate that changes to U.S. immigration law include three specific things: First, a visa program should be created for entrepreneurs who start businesses and create jobs. Second, more visas need to be allocated for highly skilled individuals in science, technology, math and engineering fields who want to come to this country and work here. Finally, permanent residency status should be offered to graduates of U.S. universities in these fields, so that they can stay here after finishing their advanced degrees.
In an op/ed published Monday on Wired.com, John Feinblatt emphasizes the potential role immigrants have in strengthening the tech economy in this country. “It’s simple,” writes Feinblatt. “The more skilled labor we have in America, the more innovation we have, the better our economy performs, and the more jobs we create for all Americans.” According to Feinblatt, for every 100 immigrants with advanced degrees in STEM fields who choose to work in this country, 262 jobs are created for native born workers. Therefore, it is up to the government to make this country an enticing place for these individuals to live and work.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Co-Chair of The Partnership for a New American Economy, one of the primary organizers of the March for Innovation has long supported comprehensive immigration reform as a means to reinvigorate the national economy. “The immigration debate in Congress should be an opportunity not only to fix the problems of the past, but also to look forward and create an immigration system that brings the best, brightest, and hardest workers to our shores,” said Bloomberg. “The Partnership for a New American Economy is organizing this virtual march to bring innovators and entrepreneurs front and center in the immigration debate.”
As the first step in creating the virtual March for Innovation, a website has been created that instructs interested parties on how they can participate and how they can recruit and encourage others to do the same. You can visit the website for the march here.