Immigration advocates worry about tech industry deal

Flag HatsThe support shown by the tech industry for a bill that would increase the number of US visas for skilled overseas workers has resulted in immigration advocates worrying that this powerful business sector is looking to abandon the bigger cause of comprehensive immigration reform and cut its own deal instead.

That worry has spurred Senator Dick Durbin, who was one of the original creators of the comprehensive immigration bill, which was passed by the Senate in 2013, to write to industry leaders urging them not to alter their commitment to broader changes, including the offering of a path to US citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants who currently live and work in the country.

For their part, technology companies continue to claim they remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform, but the fear demonstrates how fragile the diverse coalition of advocates is and their increasing frustration with Congress, which is still refusing to even vote on, let alone pass, any sort of immigration reform bill. “Until a coalition like this has a tangible success, there are going to be inherent suspicions among the partners,” says University of California-Irvine Latino studies and political science professor. Louis DeSipio. “The inaction of the House on immigration reform is causing tension. Each of the coalition partners is unsure of how committed the other partners are.”

DeSipio says this is particularly true given that the coalition is broader than ever before, bringing together business groups, labor unions, evangelical Protestants, Catholics, police chiefs and immigrant rights activists.