Mark Zuckerberg created a PAC for Immigration Reform. The debate on Immigration is now between high skilled workers vs the undocumented people. The tech industry vs the fruit industry. The Republicans vs the Democrats.
Yes, we need fruit pickers. But we can easily teach the 7 % unemployed people in the US to pick grapes in 3 hours. We cannot teach them to program a computer.
And yes, this is a political issue. The Obama Administration wants “comprehensive Immigration.” it says that it wants high tech jobs. But all the administrative options that are available, seems only to apply to undocumented immigrants. That is good. DACA is giving many kids the chance to drive legally. But they are high school graduates, and many simply cannot find a job, even though they are getting the work permit. Similarly the procedure for I-601 waivers is made easier. And it is helping many families stay intact.
But when it comes to the business immigration, we are simply not seeing those administrative solutions. The “control” memo that puts a dent on the H-1B s for tech companies, introduced during the Obama administration is still here. This year the H-1B quotas even for Master’s Degree holders from US Universities got filled in the first day, with lottery. If these Master’s Degree holders don’t get into the lottery, will their OPT work permit be extended? And if not, why not? These are Master’s Degree (or even Bachelor’s Degree holders ) from US Universities. Are they inferior to the DACA people simply because they followed the law and maintained legal status? If the DACA people are given work permits for just being high school grads, why should Bach and masters of US Universities not be given the same opportunity? And what about highly qualified spouses of H-1Bs? What wrong did they do?
And last but not least, the Obama Administration wants a “clear path to citizenship” for everyone. And yes, these 11 million people, (most of them poorly educated) has to stand in line behind all those in line right now. But what about the next high tech inventor who is now in grade school, dabbling in programming. If this kid invents the next google, and wants to come to the US, does she have to wait in line behind the 11 million people? And if so, will we then lose our technology edge in the world, simply due to political pandering of the Democrats?
Lets make immigration like most countries do: The more qualified you are, the simpler and faster will be your immigration. Irrespective of whether you are legal or not. We want people for the content of their brains, not for the color of their skin.