Amnesty Advocates Fear High-Tech Lobby Will Break Away, Push Solely for Increase in Visas

Amnesty Advocates Fear High-Tech Lobby Will Break Away, Push Solely for Increase in Visas

In a sign that the pro-amnesty coalition may be fraying, the high-tech industry may be considering a push for separate legislation that increases the number of high-tech visas, abandoning the array of interests that have been more contentious about easing deportations and granting amnesty.

For the high-tech industry, composed of executives that make up the 0.1%, it is still all about the bottom line and the visas they have coveted. 

Scott Corley, executive director of Compete America which represents high-tech industries, recently wrote an op-ed in Roll Call in which he urged Congress to “act now” to take up “legislation like the bipartisan SKILLS Act today and increase the number of H-1B Visas available.”

“Here is the basic problem: The H-1B program for legal skilled immigration imposes a cap of 85,000 visas annually, yet the American economy needs many more scientists and engineers,” he wrote. 

As Breitbart News has reported, numerous reports have found that there is no empirical evidence to support claims that America has a shortage of high-tech workers. That has not stopped groups like Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us and Compete America, though, from pushing bills like the SKILLS Act, which would, at minimum, double the number of high-tech visas. That would, as the Congressional Budget Office noted, help lower the wages of American workers. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Compete America “made a similar push for a visa bill in a teleconference” and “other immigration supporters concluded that Compete America was asking House members to move a bill addressing their concerns by itself if the broader legislation does not advance.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a Gang of Eight member who co-wrote the Senate’s amnesty bill that passed, warned the tech industry not to abandon efforts to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.

“I am troubled by recent statements suggesting that some in the technology industry may shift their focus to passage of stand-alone legislation that would only resolve the industry’s concerns,” he reportedly wrote. “This ‘divide and conquer’ approach destroys the delicate political balance achieved in our bipartisan bill and calls into question the good faith of those who would sacrifice millions of lives for H-1B relief.”

Corley told the Journal that “in no one way are we abandoning comprehensive reform,” but another high-tech lobbyist told the outlet that such “rumors that the tech industry is changing its strategy have impacted advocates for immigrants, who fear they will be sold out.” The lobbyist said that pro-amnesty advocates have always speculated that “tech doesn’t care about the undocumented.”

As Politico noted, pro-amnesty advocates want business groups and high-tech groups like Compete America to exert as much pressure as they did in Arizona over the religious freedom law. Other amnesty groups have vowed to engage in more “confrontational tactics” to force Congress to act on amnesty legislation or pressure President Barack Obama to issue more executive actions to ease deportations and possibly grant amnesty to more illegal immigrants.

The high-tech industry reportedly wanted to go all-in just to get their high-tech visas but were convinced to join the pro-amnesty coalition on the left and right and throw in their hundreds of millions of dollars to push for a comprehensive bill, with a pathway to citizenship for all of the country’s illegal immigrants. 


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