Improve Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Voices for Innovation
May 1, 2013

Immigration Reform Proposal: A Good Start

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 

The Situation: A Good First Proposal Could Be Improved

  • On April 17, an 844-page comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 744). The proposal touches on many areas unrelated to the technology sector, but it also incorporates high-skilled immigration and increased funding for U.S. education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
  • Both high-skilled immigration reform and STEM education are critical to the future of the American technology industry. There are insufficient numbers of Americans workers with degrees in key STEM-related disciplines like computer science to meet U.S. workforce demands.

  • Earlier this year, the Senate introduced a proposal that specifically addressed the U.S. high-skilled workforce crisis. The Immigration Innovation (“I-Squared”) Act of 2013 would have contributed an estimated $500-$600 million annually to STEM education and workforce development, funded by new fees for high-skilled H-1B visas and green cards. In contrast, the CIR proposal includes a limited $500 fee that would generate just over $50 million for STEM education. The I-Squared plan provides far more substantial funding to address America’s chronic shortcomings in STEM education.

  • The CIR proposal increases high-skilled visa caps, which have been stalled at 1990 levels. However, proposed new rules and restrictions placed on employers using the H-1B visa program would place costly and unfair burdens on companies seeking to grow, innovate and create jobs. All employees—American and foreign-born—deserve protections from unfair labor practices, but employers need the flexibility to staff projects up and down in response to market forces.

How You Can Help

Visit the VFI Action Center to email your lawmakers and ask them to:

  • Increase funding for STEM education to the levels established in the I-Squared Act.
  • Ease regulatory burdens on American employers using the H-1B program.

When you communicate with lawmakers, we encourage you to be supportive of the CIR bill, which will help address the high-skilled workforce shortage. At the same time, improvements to the CIR bill will make the proposed solution even stronger.

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