Technology Leaders Urge U.S. Senate to Approve Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation

Jun 20, 2013, 13:30 ET from TechNet

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 100 executives from the technology sector and leading innovation advocacy organizations today called on the U.S. Senate to approve comprehensive immigration reform legislation (Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013/S. 744).

In the letter, the technology executives wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and all members of the Senate. The executives urged the Senate to quickly approve the bill that includes reforms to enable a more open and flexible U.S. immigration system for high-skilled workers.

The following is the text of the letter from leading technology executives:

"As representatives of the leading technology innovators, designers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and job creators in the United States, we write to request your support for S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. This critically important legislation would help ensure that America continues to be the location of the world's most innovative and fastest growing industries—those that rely on intellectual property and highly educated talent. Your support for S. 744 will allow America to better realize opportunities for innovation and job creation today, as well as secure our economic strength in the future.

"America is the most prosperous country in the world. The U.S. technology sector employs over 6 million Americans and contributes $1 trillion to our country's Gross Domestic Product. Our success stems from our historic diversity, and the constant infusion of new and innovative ideas fostered by our democratic system of education and innovation.

"We applaud the Gang of Eight, the bipartisan sponsors of S. 744, as well as the bill's bipartisan supporters in the Senate Judiciary Committee, who have collaboratively crafted and refined a comprehensive bill that would truly modernize a broken and outdated immigration system. We strongly believe the many reforms in S. 744 that impact high skilled immigration – including key improvements in the availability of both green cards and H-1B visas – will help address the national talent shortage in the near-term, while also creating a long-term pipeline of American workers through establishing a much-needed new fund for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, including computer science education. The bill will also protect and better prepare American workers, and enable employers and entrepreneurs of all sizes in every state to recruit and retain the world's best talent.

"Senate approval of S. 744 is essential for our economy to 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.

"We urge your support for S. 744, which will help to open a new path to American innovation, American economic strength, and greater opportunities for American workers."

Among others, the following executives have signed on to the letter:

Mike Splinter, Chief Executive Officer, Applied Materials, Inc.; Randall Stephenson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AT&T; Carl Bass, President & Chief Executive Officer, Autodesk, Inc.; Kevin Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer, Avaya Inc.; John Chambers, Chief Executive Officer, Cisco Systems; Kim Polese, Chairman, ClearStreet Inc.; John Donahoe, President & Chief Executive Officer, eBay Inc.; Ronald Sege, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Corporation; Fabio Rosati, Chief Executive Officer, Elance, Inc.; Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer, Facebook; Martin Schoeppler, President & Chief Executive Officer, FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc.; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google; Dean Garfield, President & Chief Executive Officer, Information Technology Industry Council; James Gutierrez, Chief Executive Officer, Insikt; Kevin Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Juniper Networks; Mary Meeker, General Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers; John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers; Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft; Robert Greifeld, Chief Executive Officer, NASDAQ OMX; Safra Catz, President & Chief Financial Officer, Oracle; Joseph Taylor, Chairman & CEO, Panasonic Corporation of North America; Paul Jacobs, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Qualcomm Incorporated; Lanham Napier, Chief Executive Officer, Rackspace; Steve Case, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman, Revolution LLC; Greg Becker, President & Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley; Steve Bennett, President & Chief Executive Officer, Symantec Corporation; Aart de Geus, Chairman and co-Chief Executive Officer, Synopsys, Inc.;Shawn Osborne, President & Chief Executive Officer, TechAmerica; Alix Burns, Acting Chief Executive Officer, TechNet; Rich Templeton, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Texas Instruments Incorporated; David Cush, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin America; Susan Sigl, President & Chief Executive Officer, Washington Technology Industry Association; Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer, Yahoo!; Jeremy Stoppelman, Chief Executive Officer, Yelp; and, Mark Pincus, Chief Executive Officer, Zynga.

A copy of the letter with full list of signatures is available at

The leading technology associations organizing this effort include: American Council of Engineering Companies; Association for Competitive Technology; Business Software Alliance; Compete America; CompTIA; Computer and Communications Industry Association; Consumer Electronics Association; Engine Advocacy; Information Technology Industry Council; Inspire STEM USA; Internet Association; Partnership for a New American Economy; SEMI; Semiconductor Industry Association; TechAmerica; Tech CEO Council; and TechNet.