The Center for Pubic Integrity has an article about a tech trade group that is pressing Congress to ease immigration laws:
"A technology trade group that’s aggressively pressing Congress to ease key immigration laws is heavily funded by one of the world’s wealthiest corporations. Corporate documents indicate that software giant Microsoft Corp. gave the nonprofit Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) nearly $2.5 million between July 2011 and June 2012. Microsoft also gave at least $1 million to ACT during the company’s 2009, 2010 and 2011 fiscal years — although it did not disclose the specific payment amounts.Microsoft representatives declined to comment on the company’s relationship with ACT.
In addition to Microsoft, the trade group’s members include a few of the biggest names in technology, such as eBay Inc., Intel Corp., Oracle Corp. and VeriSign Inc. ACT has been among a bevy of tech groups lobbying heavily on the comprehensive immigration reform bill, known as S. 744, which the U.S. Senate approved last month.
Most notable among their concerns: expanding the H1-B visa program, which allows highly skilled foreign residents to work in the U.S. temporarily. “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,” read a June 20 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Further below is the letter they mention from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Oracle and everyone else on the "who's who" list in the tech industry.
The fate of immigration reform now lies with the U.S. House of Representatives, where its prospects are uncertain. ACT, for one, is continuing to press its case. But read this stinging report from Roll Call on the Senate's immigration bill:
"Too much of the bill is corporate giveaways, at the expense of wage growth and job opportunities for U.S. workers. A massive guest worker program will fill year-round jobs in lower-skilled occupations like housekeeping and landscaping, and a separate, existing seasonal program for similar jobs will double in size. The Senate apparently doesn’t care that wages have been flat and unemployment in double digits for years in these occupations.
The tech sector’s lobbying firestorm — based on unsupportable claims about severe labor shortages in science, technology, engineering and math fields — paid off. S744 nearly triples the troubled H-1B guest worker program without fixing its loopholes and abuses despite little evidence of a high-tech labor shortage. Most H-1B guest workers are employed in information technology jobs, where wages are stuck at 1990s levels and unemployment remains above pre-recession levels.
To the benefit of contractors and supplier firms, the bill wastefully spends $46 billion for more drones, equipment and manpower to further militarize the southern border. The additional 20,000 border patrol agents the bill mandates will have little to do since the net flow of unauthorized migrants from Mexico is already near zero and, because of Mexican demographic trends, is unlikely to increase significantly.
Also read: H-2B Work Visas Costing Taxpayers Millions
--- THE LETTER ---
June 20, 2013
The Honorable Harry Reid
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
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 if our economy will 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.
cc: Members of the United States Senate
* Letter (PDF)