Washington, DC – More than 100 executives from the technology sector and leading innovation advocacy organizations, including the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, today called on President Obama and Congress to approve legislation this year to reform America’s high-skilled immigration system.
In a letter organized by TechNet, the bipartisan policy and political network of technology CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, the executives wrote to the President and Congressional leadership to call for reforms to enable a more open and flexible U.S. immigration system to embrace highly-skilled workers.
The following is the text of the letter from leading technology executives:
“One of the biggest economic challenges facing our nation is the need for more qualified, highly-skilled professionals, domestic and foreign, who can create jobs and immediately contribute to and improve our economy. As leaders of technology companies from around the country, we want to thank you for your sincere efforts in addressing high skilled immigration and we urge that you and your colleagues enact reform legislation this year.
“As you know, the United States has a long history of welcoming talented, hard- working people to our shores. Immigrant entrepreneurs have gone on to found thousands of companies with household names like eBay, Google, PayPal and Yahoo! to name just a few. These companies provide jobs, drive economic growth and generate tax revenue at all levels of government.
“Yet because our current immigration system is outdated and inefficient, many high- skilled immigrants who want to stay in America are forced to leave because they are unable to obtain permanent visas. Some do not bother to come in the first place. This is often due to visa shortages, long waits for green cards, and lack of mobility. We believe that numerical levels and categories for high-skilled nonimmigrant and immigrant visas should be responsive to market needs and, where appropriate, include mechanisms to fluctuate based on objective standards. In addition, spouses and children should not be counted against the cap of high-skilled immigrant visas. There should not be a marriage or family penalty.
“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs requiring highly skilled individuals. Four high-tech companies alone – IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle – have combined 10,000 openings in the United States. Each one of these jobs has the potential to create many others, directly and indirectly. Bipartisan legislation currently introduced in the Senate, such as The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, and the Start-Up Visa Act, will encourage innovation here in the U.S. by allowing American companies and entrepreneurs to have access to the talented workers they need while simultaneously investing in STEM education here in the U.S. We know what it will take to keep America in a position of global leadership. We know that when America is leading, our economic growth follows to the benefit of our nation’s workforce.
“We call on you to address the need for more qualified, highly-skilled professionals, domestic and foreign, and to enact immigration reform this year. We look forward to working with you and your colleagues in a bipartisan way as we move forward in our common interest.”
The following executives have signed on to the letter:
Jim Breyer, Partner, Accel Partners; Khaled Naim, Co-Founder and CEO, Addy Inc.; Eric Davidson, President, American Automation & Communications, Inc.; Bob Abernethy, President, American Standard Development Company; Pablo Diaz-Gutierrez, CTO, Appfluence LLC; Mike Splinter, CEO, Applied Materials; Robert Nelsen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, ARCH Venture Partners; Jonathan Zuck, President, Association for Competitive Technology; Randall Stephenson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AT&T; Michael Pope, President, Audio Video Interiors, Inc.; Jim Wunderman, President and CEO, Bay Area Council; KR Sridhar, CEO, Bloom Energy; Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO and President, BlueSnap; David Hagan, President and CEO, Boingo Wireless; Bernard Yoo, Co-founder, Bombfell, Inc.; Robert Holleyman, President and CEO, BSA | The Software Alliance; John Chambers, CEO, Cisco; Todd Thibodeaux, CEO, CompTIA; Paige Rasid, COO, Connecticut Technology Council; Gary Shapiro, CEO and President, Consumer Electronics Association; Gary Yacoubian, Past Chairman, Consumer Electronics Association; Edward Aten, Founder and CEO, CopThis, Inc; Cherian Thomas, Co-founder and CEO, Cucumbertown; Michael Baker, CEO, DataXu, Inc.; Don Means, Founder and Principal, Digital Village; John Donahoe, CEO, eBay, Inc., Fabio Rosati, President and CEO, Elance, Inc.; Timothy Healy, CEO, EnerNOC, Inc.; Kevin Hartz, CEO, Eventbrite; Mark Zuckerberg, Cofounder, Chairman and CEO, Facebook; John McAdam, President and CEO, F5 Networks Inc.; Randy Fry, President, Fry’s Electronics, Inc.; David Inns, CEO, GreatCall Inc.; Gagan Biyani, Co-Founder, Growth Hackers Conference; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google; Jindou Lee, Founder, Happy Inspector; Koichi Fujikawa, Co-founder, Hapyrus Inc.; Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hewlett-Packard Company; Robert Struble, President and CEO, iBiquity Digital Corporation; James Hamilton, CEO, Identity Ventures LLC; Fred Hoch, CEO, Illinois Technology Association; Dean Garfield, President and CEO, Information Technology Industry Council; Paul Otellini, CEO, Intel; Adriane Brown, President and COO, Intellectual Ventures; Peter Corbett, Founder and CEO, iStrategyLabs; Mitchell Gaynor, Executive Vice President, Secretary, & General Counsel, Juniper Networks; Vitaly Golomb, CEO, Keen Systems; John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Shaun Cross, CEO, Lee & Hayes; George Nethercutt, Of Counsel, Lee & Hayes; Marty Beard, CEO, LiveOps, Inc; Jake Sigal, CEO, Livio; John Hering, CEO, Lookout, Inc.; Karl Sun, CEO, Lucid Software Inc.; Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group; Tom Savage, Vice President, Global Legal Affairs and Governmental Policy, Marvell Semiconductor, Inc.; Tom Hopcroft, CEO, Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council; Sagar Mehta, CTO, Meet Mikey; Bradford L. Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft; Ted Smith, CEO, MIND Research; Loyd Ivey, CEO, Mitek Electronics & Communications Group; Bob Greifeld, Chief Executive Officer, NASDAQ OMX; Mark Heesen, President, National Venture Capital Association; Fred Kocher, President, New Hampshire High Tech Council; Maxine Ballen, CEO, New Jersey Technology Association; Erik K. Grummelmann, Ph.D., Executive Director, New York Technology Council; Brooks Raiford, CEO, North Carolina Technology Association; Safra Catz, President and CFO, Oracle; Peter Craig, Chairman, Orange County Technology Alliance; Joseph Taylor, Chairman and CEO, Panasonic Corporation of North America; Alan Wells, CEO, Pocket Labs, Inc; Paul Lambert, President, Point B Management Consulting; Joshua Marti, CEO, Point Inside Inc.; Maryse Thomas, CEO, Pokeware; Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Qualcomm Incorporated; Timothy Lipton, Co-Founder and CFO, ReAllocate, Inc.; Kim Folsom, CEO, Reel Qualified, Inc.; Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution LLC; Jean-Sebastien Boulanger, CTO, Rewardli Inc.; Kathie Shields, Executive Director, Rhode Island Tech Collective; Michael Pope, President, Safety Technologies, Inc.; Kate Mitchell, Partner, Scale Venture Partners; Brian Toohey, CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association; Greg Becker, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Bank; Carl Guardino, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group; Benoit Passot, CEO, SimPolaris; Brent Frei, Chairman, Smartsheet; Jim Weldon, CEO, Solar Junction; Michael Mayernick, Co-founder, Spinnakr; Daniel Pidgeon, Chairman, Starpower; Ron Conway, Partner, SV Angels; Aart de Geus, Chairman and Co-CEO, Synopsys, Inc.; Heather Kenyon, CEO, Tampa Bay Technology Forum; Mary Hale, CFO, Taos Mountain, Inc.; Scott Allison, CEO, Teamly Inc; Shawn Osborne, President and CEO, TechAmerica; Rey Ramsey, CEO, TechNet; Tino Mantella, President, Technology Association of Georgia; Skip Newberry, President, Technology Association of Oregon; Doug Young, COO, The ASCII Group; Michael Beckerman, President and CEO, The Internet Association; Steven Tiffen, President and CEO, The Tiffen Company; Jonathan Swanson, Co-Founder and President, Thumbtack; Michael Green, CEO, TipTopMed; Ariel Camus, CEO, TouristEye; Lew McMurran, Vice President of Government and External Affairs, Washington Technology Industry Association; David Rusenko, CEO, Weebly; Anush Ramani, CTO, Xola Inc.; James Zimmerman, CEO, Xola.com, Stanford Medical Center; and Mark Pincus, CEO, Zynga.
The leading technology associations joining TechNet in this effort include: Association for Competitive Technology; Bay Area Council; Consumer Electronics Association; Information Technology Industry Council; Internet Association; National Venture Capital Association; Silicon Valley Leadership Group; and TechAmerica.
A copy of the letter is available at www.technet.org.
TechNet: Jim Hock, 463 Communications, 202-463-0013 ext. 202, firstname.lastname@example.org
Association for Competitive Technology: Jonathan Godfrey, 202-331-2130, email@example.com
Bay Area Council: Rufus Jeffris, 415-946-8725, firstname.lastname@example.org
Consumer Electronics Association: Laura Hubbard, 703-907-4326, email@example.com
Information Technology Industry Council: Meghan Fletcher, 202-524-4389, firstname.lastname@example.org
Internet Association: Betsy Barrett, email@example.com
National Venture Capital Association: Emily Mendell, 610-565-3904, firstname.lastname@example.org
TechAmerica: Stephanie Craig, 202-682-4443, Stephanie.email@example.com
Silicon Valley Leadership Group: Steve Wright, 408-501-7853, firstname.lastname@example.org
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