The bipartisan lovefest over immigration reform is officially over. As Senator John McCain returned home to gin up public support for a compromise on comprehensive immigration reform, he was heckled by constituents, angry at a proposal to give undocumented workers a path to citizenship. “The only thing that will stop them is a gun,” one attendee said at the Arizona town hall.
As we reported late last year, the technology industry can’t expect to get more visas for high-skilled immigrants unless the issue of low-skilled immigration is solved as well.
“Because our immigration system needs fixing top to bottom, fixing it all at once is the right way to approach things,” wrote Representative Luis Gutierrez, in a TechCruch debate with contributing writer, Vivek Wadhwa. “After all, Silicon Valley engineers and entrepreneurs would not be very productive or competitive engines of our economy if they did not have food to eat, or people to care for their children or parents, or a clean office and clean clothes, or a made bed in their hotel room on a business trip.”
The sticking point with the Arizona resident who spoke up at the town hall appears to a proposed path to citizenship for undocumented workers. A leaked plan from President Obama would allow some residents to obtain citizenship within 8 years.
While the tone on immigration has generally been optimistic, there is no guarantee it will pass.