January 30, 2014

Information Technology Industry Council President & CEO Dean Garfield issued the following statement after the House Republican Conference’s discussion of immigration reform standards:

“As an immigrant, an American, and a true believer in innovation, I welcome the efforts in the House to move forward with immigration reform. Today’s standards mark an important step in the process in the House of Representatives toward reforming our nation’s broken, outdated immigration system.

Congressional action on immigration reform this year is imperative for one simple reason: Immigration is innovation.  We are in dire need of a renewed skilled immigration system that will give U.S.-based employers the ability to attract, develop, and retain the world’s best and highly educated individuals so that we can continue to innovate and compete in a global marketplace.

Every day that goes by without immigration reform is another day when new jobs and new industries start in foreign countries instead of on American shores.  In the tech industry alone, companies hire on average roughly five additional non-immigrant workers for every high-skilled immigrant hired on a temporary visa.  Indeed, from 1995 to 2005, more than half of Silicon Valley start-ups were founded or co-founded by an immigrant, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and growth in our economy. Our broken immigration system stymies the development and growth of talent in the U.S.  If an employer today sponsored a permanent resident visa, or green card, for a foreign-born worker from China or India, the wait time is certain to exceed well beyond ten years.

If we want next-generation industries to be founded in the U.S., then our policymakers must seize this moment and produce bipartisan legislation.  On Tuesday night, both President Obama in his State of the Union Address, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers in her response, noted that our current immigration system is in need of reform and does not serve our nation’s interest.  We agree.  And if done right, immigration reform will result in a stronger innovation economy for the U.S., with new industries, new jobs, and new opportunities.”

About ITI

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is the premier advocacy and policy organization for the world’s leading innovation companies.  ITI navigates the relationships between policymakers, companies, and non-governmental organizations, providing creative solutions that advance the development and use of technology around the world.  Visit www.itic.org to learn more. 

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