Now that the 2014 midterm elections are over, interested parties pushing immigration reform are ready to be rewarded by President Obama for their patience. Obama had strategically avoided any action on immigration reform until after midterms to avoid damaging the Democrats’ electoral prospects.
TechNet, which counts many Silicon Valley companies as members, said it respected Obama’s decision to delay the immigration moves until after the election, but said the time for action has come.
“We will be engaging in this, yes, in the next couple of months,” TechNet’s chief executive, Linda Moore, said. “They know the kinds of things that we would like to see done. And we will definitely reengage on that.”
The tech lobbyists are mainly interested in expanding deferred action for people in the U.S. illegally. Mark Zuckerberg’s lobby group was gathering supporters to start pressuring Congress for reform. “In addition to what the president should do to help the undocumented community — because there are millions of families who are living every day in fear of being separated — but in addition to that, we think there are things that can help spur job creation in the country,” FWD.us president Todd Shulte said.
“Reform” ideas run the gamut. Some of the reforms pushed by the industry include “recapturing” unused green cards, which would free up about 200,000 numbers; another involves letting people work if they have received a green card but have yet to obtain a visa number. Yet another reform would include not counting spouses and family numbers in employment-based green cards.
But Republicans have already warned the president against taking action. Speaker of the House John Boehner said any executive action from the president would “poison the well” for other reforms.
Senator Jeff Sessions warned the recommendations from the tech industry will lead to higher unemployment. “The executive actions FWD.us is lobbying for — work permits for illegal immigrants and the importation of more foreign guest workers for IT corporations — will ensure the following for American workers: higher unemployment and lower wages,” Sessions spokesman Stephen Miller said.
Obama has promised he will take some kind of action by the end of this year.