More than 100 chief executives of major tech companies and trade associations — including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer — urged President Obama and Congress on Thursday to reform the existing immigration rules for highly-skilled workers.
In a letter sent to the president and lawmakers, the tech heavyweights said the need to hire and retain skilled foreign and domestic workers is one of the top economic challenges facing the country and the existing immigration laws are a hurdle to addressing this issue. They argue that high-skilled immigrants have gone on to create companies like Google, eBay and Yahoo, which have driven job and economic growth in the United States.
“Yet because our current immigration system is outdated and inefficient, many high-skilled immigrants who want to stay in America are forced to leave because they are unable to obtain permanent visas. Some do not bother to come in the first place,” the letter reads. “This is often due to visa shortages, long waits for green cards, and lack of mobility.”
The letter comes as both chambers of Congress are hammering out legislation aimed at overhauling the nation’s immigration laws. President Obama is pushing for Congress to clear a bill this year and has made comprehensive immigration reform a top priority after securing more than half of the Latino vote in the November election.