The high-tech industry has gotten more big wins than any other group in the immigration reform bill that last week received approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee thanks to a combination of fairly weak opposition, a perfectly positioned ally in the Senate and a concerted lobbying effort.
The result turned out to effectively be something of a bonanza for the high-tech industry, with unlimited green cards able to grant permanent resident status to foreigners that have specific advanced US degrees and a massive increase in the amount of US visas available for highly skilled overseas workers. With the intervention of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, the industry was also able to greatly curtail the controls aimed at protecting American workers that had been sought by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.
Hatch then voted for the bill as it passed the Committee, though the compromise was a bitter one for many in organized labor. “There was an agreement with the tech industry and Senator Hatch said he wanted more, and that was what it took to get his vote,” Durbin notes. The tech industry “really used Senator Hatch’s vote to improve their position in the bill. I understand that,” he concedes, “but I think in fairness now, I hope the industry is satisfied and they will not push this any further.”
Industry had already witnessed a number of its wishes being granted even before the immigration bill was taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee and now many labor officials have seen the tech industry take advantage of Hatch’s position to the detriment of American workers.