“The tech industry is, frankly, being greedy. They are going back and asking for changes to language they helped write and blatantly trying to roll back requirements that give high-skilled American workers a fair shot at getting a job,” said AFL-CIO legislative Representative Andrea Zuniga DiBitetto about new proposals to ease the hiring of high-skilled foreign workers.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reportedly called Senator Orin Hatch to push more tech-friendly changes to the comprehensive immigration reform bill. Among Hatch’s most contentious suggestions is an end to a 90-day wait period before companies can solicit applicants with a foreign work visa. According to Reuters, under Hatch’s amendment, employers would only have to make a good-faith effort to hire Americans.
While, conceptually, comprehensive immigration reform has strong bi-partisan support, its passage is far from certain. Reuters could not report whether unions would support the bill, should Hatch’s changes go through.
Many unions have been long-time opponents of high-skilled immigration reform. Most recently, the union-backed Economic Policy Institute published (and criticized) a study on why the need for high-skilled immigrants was a myth.
Should the unions lose this latest battle in the Senate, it will demonstrate their decline relative to the tech industry.