NY Times: High Tech Industry Joins Forces with CIR Advocates

When the last major effort for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) collapsed, back during the second term of President George W. Bush, many assumed piecemeal legislation was the only way any immigration reforms would get through Congress. Perhaps, the thinking went, we could at least agree on a more forward-looking STEM visa policy, even if we were still at loggerheads about visas for low-skilled workers, undocumented immigrants, family reunification, and the like.

That strategy didn’t work, much to the chagrin of the high-tech industry, which tried and failed to get a stand-alone STEM visa bill through Congress. According to a recent New York Times article, the tech industry seems to have concluded that they need not go it alone – that, in fact, they have much to gain by forging an alliance with Latino immigration groups that traditionally have favored CIR with a path to citizenship for the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants living here. [See Silicon Valley and Immigrant Groups Find Common Cause, by Somini Sengupta, New York Times, 12.Feb.2013.]

What changed? According to the Times, “the new alliance between the tech industry and immigration groups was born out of the 2012 elections and the rising influence of Hispanic voters.” Though it remains to be seen how this alliance will hold up once the political horse trading begins, it’s a hopeful sign that these two important constituencies are working together. We’ve already tried “every man for himself,” with nary a shred of legislative progress to show for it. Let’s hope this strength-in-numbers approach will be more successful.

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