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Thread: Tech firms spend $13.8M lobbying on immigration

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Tech firms spend $13.8M lobbying on immigration

    Companies want US to allow more foreign workers

    WASHINGTON — Seven technology companies and a software association — all with interests in shaping the immigration debate now under way in Congress — each spent more than $1 million on their federal lobbying efforts during the first three months of this year, new reports show.

    Their spending, totaling $13.8 million, swamps the $80,000 that one longtime immigration advocate, the National Council of La Raza, spent on lobbying during the same time period. The spending is one part of the tech industry’s new advocacy push to shape a leading Senate proposal that would dramatically expand the temporary visas and green cards given to foreign workers in the technology field.

    Among the biggest increases: lobbying by Facebook, which soared to $2.45 million, up from $650,000 during the same period last year and $1.4 million during the last three months of 2012.

    In a separate move from his company’s official lobbying activity, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has assembled some of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest figures, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, to underwrite, a nonprofit group aimed at building public and congressional support for a large-scale rewrite of U.S. immigration policy.

    To advance the cause, the Zuckerberg group also has launched two subsidiaries with vague, patriotic-sounding names — Americans for a Conservative Direction and the Council for American Job Growth, designed to appeal to conservative or liberal and independent voters, respectively.

    Firms would benefit from Senate plan

    The technology sector stands to make big gains under the Senate plan, which dramatically changes the way the federal government grants visas and green cards to future immigrants.

    Currently, most green cards are issued based on family ties to U.S. citizens. In 2012, only 14 percent of immigrants — nearly 144,000 people — were granted green cards tied to employment, according to data compiled by the Department of Homeland Security. Under the Senate plan, about 50 percent of future green cards would be employment-based.

    Some family-based immigration would be curtailed.The Senate bill would end the practice of allowing U.S. citizens to petition for green cards for their siblings 18 months after the measure becomes law.

    The Senate bill also includes another measure long sought by the technology industry by increasing the annual cap on the number of temporary H1B visas from 85,000 to 205,000. These visas go primarily to college-educated foreigners in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

    'Economic engines'

    “The aim is to remake the immigration system so it has a much clearer economic focus,” Graham said. “Green cards should be viewed as economic engines for the country.”

    Technology groups say the suspension of the sibling program is the result of political compromise between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill — not their lobbying efforts.

    “We fully support family immigration to the United States,” said Scott Corley, executive director of Compete America, a coalition of businesses and universities promoting high-skilled immigration. Its members include Facebook, Intel and Google. “Many people who started companies in this country came through the family immigration system.”

    The new lobbying reports show technology companies seeking to influence policy on a wide range of topics from cyber security and online privacy to tax policy.

    Quest for skilled foreign workers

    The tech industry “needs a modernized, high-skilled immigration system in order to keep growing ... and the Senate bill moves us in the right direction,” Facebook spokeswoman Jodi Seth said. She said the company has not been involved in talks to end the sibling program.

    Clarissa Martinez with the National Council of La Raza said the lack of a powerful lobby behind family unity in the U.S. visa system has made it difficult to defend. Programs that are cut in the Senate bill — including the ability of a U.S. citizen to petition for a sibling — have been under threat for years because it is difficult to muster a powerful coalition behind them.

    “There’s less defined, moneyed interest arguing for that,” Martinez said. “Perhaps that’s part of the reason some of these categories have always had a bull’s-eye on their back.”
    Last edited by imblest; 05-02-2013 at 11:17 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    There is no quest for "skilled workers". We have plenty of skilled American workers out of jobs. This is all about cheap labor. Shame on these billionaire cheapskate traitors!!!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator imblest's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    North Carolina
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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