Statement on Immigration and Innovation

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January 31  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

“The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, an organization of 400 employers with facilities in all 50 states and almost every Congressional District, urges the Trump Administration, House and Senate to unite around the freedoms upon which our nation was founded. Our country’s greatest ideals embrace and respect people of all ethnicities, national backgrounds and faiths. Let’s build upon that tradition now and always.”

“The Leadership Group respects that our national security must remain a paramount concern of our Federal Government. We also believe our actions must be tempered by thoughtful, measured decisions that will strengthen our economy, security and moral authority.”

“Silicon Valley and much of America’s Innovation Economy has been built through the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of courageous immigrants and refugees. In fact, 40 percent of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. Whether iconic global brands or struggling entrepreneurial start-ups, innovation economy companies are created disproportionately by immigrants. In Silicon Valley, 58 percent of our engineers – the lifeblood of Silicon Valley – are foreign-born. Whether it is Intel Co-Founder Andy Grove, Yahoo! Co-Founder Jerry Yang or Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin, we are proud that so many leaders born outside of the United States moved here – often at great risk – to call our Country home.”

“Through this lens, we urge the Administration and Congress to never forget that we are a nation of immigrants, often refugees, whose diversity is the backbone of our unity. Our economy and quality of life are enhanced by waves of immigrants who continue to help build our Country.”

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America Needs Immigration Reform

August 1  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is once again taking a delegation of 12 CEOs – each running globally competitive, demanding companies – away from their own businesses to tend to our nation’s business. Investing three full days in Washington, D.C., these 12 CEOs will meet individually with more than 50 key members of the House of Representatives, pressing for comprehensive immigration reform.

What makes this trip unique is what makes Silicon Valley’s innovation economy unique:

  • First, we are primarily not going to D.C. to preach to the converted. Our meetings are with 50 members of the House who are not yet convinced we need comprehensive immigration reform.
  • Second, while the Leadership Group’s 400 member companies are primarily headquartered in Silicon Valley, our members have facilities and employees in all 50 states and in almost all 435 congressional districts. Our visits with 50 House members will underscore that we have one or more of our companies that has a physical presence in each of those districts.
  • Third, while our expertise in immigration reform is strongest on the need for high-skill, high-wage workers to continue to fuel America’s innovation economy, we also recognize the need for workers from around the globe engaged in high-tech, low-tech and no-tech; which is why our trip to D.C. is also coordinated with California’s essential agriculture industry. Together, we will make the case that a strong economy requires workers in all industries who were born here in the U.S. or desire to legally come here and contribute to our country.

Our country’s immigration system is broken. As Silicon Valley CEOs, we are committed to working with Congress to fix it.

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Immigrants Built America

May 23  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

Just two generations ago, my grandmother passed through New York Harbor, seeing the Statue of Liberty as she emigrated from Sicily to become an American. A teenager crossing the Atlantic Ocean, by boat, for a better way of life.

She raised seven children in a one-bedroom home on North 12th Street in San José. Fast forwards 100 years, her grandson is the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

We are a nation of immigrants, standing on the shoulders of those who came before us.

Our country is now engaged in a great debate. The time for meaningful immigration reform is now. In Silicon Valley, we get this. We know that 53 percent of our engineers were born outside the U.S. More than 40 percent of company CEOs and founders are foreign-born. More than 50 percent of students earning advanced technical degrees in U.S. universities are foreign-born, as are the professors teaching those courses.

At the Leadership Group, meaningful reform includes three essential elements:

  • Make H-1B and green card programs work for America.  Remove the artificially low cap and replace it with a market-based cap.
  • Recruit and retain the best and brightest. Learn from Canada, New Zealand and Australia and provide visas and green cards to entrepreneurs and advanced degree graduates.
  • Prepare today’s generation of American students with the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills they need to compete globally.

Our country has been a beacon of light to the world. Let’s continue to educate our own students to be their best, and also attract the best from around the globe.

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