Members of the coalition pushing for comprehensive immigration reform worry that high-tech companies may try to cut their own separate legislative deal to allow more foreign workers to fill jobs
High-tech companies’ support for a bill that would increase visas for skilled foreign workers has sparked fear among immigration activists that the powerful industry wants to cut its own deal and abandon the larger cause of a comprehensive immigration overhaul.
That fear spurred Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. — one of the original architects of the immigration bill that passed the Senate last year — to send industry leaders a letter urging them not to break their commitment to the broader changes, including a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants in the USA.
Tech companies say they remain committed to comprehensive change, but the controversy underscores the fragility of the diverse coalition of advocates and their growing frustration over the failure of Congress to pass a bill.
“Until a coalition like this has a tangible success, there are going to be inherent suspicions among the partners,” said Louis DeSipio, a political science and Latino studies professor at the University of California-Irvine. “The inaction of the House on immigration reform is creating tension. Each of the coalition partners is unsure of how committed the other partners are.”
That’s especially true, DeSipio said, since the coalition supporting an immigration overhaul is broader than it has ever been, bringing together business groups and labor unions, Catholics and evangelical Protestants, immigrant rights activists and police chiefs.
“This is a new coalition in American immigration reform history,” the professor said. “Some of the coalition partners don’t know each other that well.”
That may be one reason why a recent op-ed in Roll Call by the executive director of Compete America — a coalition of technology companies, universities and trade associations favoring new immigration laws — caused such a negative reaction among other supporters.
SOURCE: Erin Kelly