TechNet, a bipartisan political network of technology executives, released a letter this morning addressed to Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell in favour of Senate Bill S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.
Featuring the signatures of top industry executives including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, and Google’s Eric Schmidt, the letter strongly supports the bill’s looser requirements for immigration for individuals with highly sought-after science and technology backgrounds as well as the bill’s creation of a fund for improving science, tech, and maths — or “STEM” — education. You can read a summary of the bill put together by the Immigration Policy centre here.
The letter also warns of the potential downside to the tech industry if immigration reform doesn’t happen in the next few years:
Senate approval of S. 744 is essential if our economy will continue to foster innovation and invigorate many U.S. business sectors through an educated and highly skilled workforce of domestic and foreign-born talent. Absent reform, if every American graduate receiving an advanced STEM degree gets a job, the U.S. is estimated to face at least 200,000 unfilled advanced-degree STEM jobs by 2018. These unfilled jobs represent lost opportunities for our country, but with S. 744, we can fill these jobs, create new ones and invest in a future of economic growth.
This isn’t the first major push by the tech industry in favour of immigration reform. Back in April, Zuckerberg and other top execs founded FWD.us, a lobbying group in favour of reform that has taken flak for contributing to controversial causes like the Keystone XL pipeline in order to garner support from conservative politicians.
Here’s the full text of the letter:
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