Tech firms step up immigration reform lobbying

Tech firms have been stepping up their lobbying in support of a bill to comprehensively reform the immigration system in the United States in their eagerness to be able to secure more US visas for highly-skilled overseas workers.  HR executives from companies such as Broadcom, Intel, Adobe, and Motorola Solutions – and numerous others – have been meeting with lawmakers and congressional committee senior advisers.

These executives have also been speaking to a large number of Republican and Democratic senators, including a number of Republicans who have yet to be fully swayed by the need for immigration reform.  These include Rob Portman from Ohio and Mark Kirk from Illinois, and even those who have voiced opposition, such as Mike Lee from Utah.

Robert Hoffman, the Information Technology Industry Council’s trade group senior vice-president, says that lawmakers who have been supporting the bill “have been urging us to work with them to make sure that the bill gets passed with the highest number of votes possible”.  The effort comes even as the Senate begins work on legislation for immigration reform that could offer a pathway to citizenship for around 11 million undocumented immigrants, establish new US work visas for overseas laborers, and spend billions of taxpayer dollars to increase border security.

The technology industry is keen to see the amount of US visas that are available for highly-skilled foreigners increase.  “Even through the depth of the great recession, we struggled to fill jobs,” claims Intel’s vice-president of human resources, Ardine Williams.