Some of the Internet’s most notable personalities are bringing attention to the need for immigration reform in a 36-hour social media marathon, The March for Innovation. It’s an issue we know our readers care about, so we’re thrilled to give you the opportunity to join part-time superhero, full-time mayor of Newark, definitely-maybe Senate candidate, and one of The Most Innovative People In Democracy, Cory Booker, in a rousing town hall. Mayor Booker and I will be answering questions on Twitter and responding to a few reader questions in our comments (officially begins Noon PT).
As I’ve written about before, the United States definitely has a costly tech-talent shortage, which can only be filled by attracting the best and brightest from around the world. Despite near unanimous support for more high-skilled immigrants, the United States Congress could not move forward without a comprehensive package that included all foreign-born workers.
A set of proposed drafts that will eventually become a single comprehensive bill is currently winding its way through both chambers of the Congress; sticky issues on agriculture workers, border security, gay rights, and an abusive high-skilled visa system threaten to derail any progress at all.
How To Influence
As Senator Jerry Moran (CrunchGov Grade: A) told me, policymakers really do respond to public pressure, especially social media. The March For Immigration isn’t about advocating a particular position, but about letting Congress know that the electoral consequences of failing to pass a bill will be greater than passing an imperfect one.
To participate in the discussion, comment below and/or tweet Booker (use hashtag #iNewark).
Here are a few very important questions that citizens should be asking
- Is immigration reform a voting issue for you? If so, why? If you have a personal story, please tell us on Twitter or in the comments.
- Do you believe that high-skilled immigrants create or take jobs from Americans? One large union, the AFL-CIO, has supported a 90-day hiring wait period to force employers to seek out Americans first (calling the tech industry “greedy” for opposing it). This waiting period has consequences; for the first time in decades, the U.S. is bleeding high-skilled talent because immigrants don’t feel welcome. Immigrants, over the long run, have founded extraordinarily profitable companies, such as Google and PayPal, so the question is complex.
- Should rights for foreign-born same-sex couples be included? Recently, the Senate rejected a provision to grant the right for same-sex couples to petition for citizenship, on the fear immigration reform would not pass. Is it worth risking the bill to include equal protection?
- We know the current visa system is prone to abuse. What can we do to prevent such abuse and make an immigration bill more appealing to concerned lawmakers?
We look forward to your insightful ideas.