Although it may seem like Comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”) has lost some steam, the push for CIR has continued its momentum and, if anything, has picked up more. Silicon Valley’s tech companies have recently renewed is support for CIR in the wake of the government shutdown.
Well known tech figures like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Steve Balmer of Microsoft, Rupert Murdoch of News Corp, Drew Houson of Dropbox, Andrew Mason of Groupon, and Reid Hoffman of Linkedin have formed a political advocacy group called “FWD.us” to use the power of technology in order to persuade Congress to get behind CIR. Part of their campaign includes trips to Washington, social media campaigns and a hackathon headlined by industry leaders. FWD.us has also partnered with a diverse array of other groups to rally support for CIR, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bibles Badges and Businesses, and the Partnership for a New American Economy.
The Hackathon in particular is of interest. Dubbed the DREAMer Hackathon and hosted at Linkedin’s Mountain View, California headquarters, it is specifically aimed at bringing together undocumented youth to work on tech projects under the advisements of Zuckerberg, Hoffman, and other tech executives.
On a separate front, the Consumer Electronics Association (“CEA”), one of America’s leading tech trade groups, is also planning a lobbying campaign for immigration reform.
There have been mixed signals coming from Congress about where the CIR bill is headed. In a speech on Thursday, October 17, President Obama said that CIR should be addressed by the end of his year. However, some tech figures believe that the fight for CIR may spill into 2014, and President Obama did admit that immigration reform may take a backseat to some of the ongoing fighting in Congress. The following Friday, President Obama announced his nomination for former Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson as the head for the Department of Homeland Security, which houses USCIS and other immigration-related agencies. We hope that Johnson, as a known Democrat, will be a positive addition to the push for CIR.
As of now, the House Judiciary Committee has already approved a set of four immigration bills that dealt with issues ranging from E-Verify improvements to the SKILLS Visa Act to the agricultural guest-worker program. These isolated bills do more harm than good to address the problems of our immigration system.
Our office hopes that CIR will pass and will be a substantial step towards reforming America’s broken immigration system. As a nation of immigrants, it is only fair to reward those who have come to this country and have worked hard to work for America’s benefit. If you have any questions about CIR or if you have any other immigration issues, contact our office so that we may assist you.