Yelp Gives Five-Star Review to Amnesty; So Do Virgin America,, E-Bay

By Jon Feere on October 18, 2013

More than 450 corporate interests and advocacy groups recently signed a letter calling for doubling legal immigration numbers and legalizing the 11 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States. The letter – available in PDF format – calls for enacting "Immigration Reform NOW". (A similar pro-amnesty letter was recently released by 100 corporate interests from the Cheesecake Factory to Hallmark Cards. An analysis of that letter is available here.)

The overwhelming majority of companies signed on to this pro-amnesty letter are high tech and agriculture-based. The companies apparently looking for more H-1B visas (i.e. cheap tech workers from overseas) include Adobe, Cisco Systems, Dell, eBay, Facebook, Google, Intel, Intuit, IBM, Microsoft,, Qualcomm, Symantec, Yahoo!, and Texas Instruments.

The companies apparently looking for more H-2A visas (i.e. cheap agricultural labor from overseas) include the Sun-Maid Growers of California, Welch Foods Inc., the New England Apple Council, Sweet Potato Council of California, National Christmas Tree Association, and various state nursery, landscape, and farm bureau organizations.

The companies apparently looking for more H-2B visas (i.e. cheap non-agricultural labor from overseas) include Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, and the National Council of Chain Restaurants. Many state Chambers of Commerce also signed on.

Of course, any of these companies might be looking for labor through a number of visa programs. A couple of companies signing on to the letter stood out to me, and it is unclear what they have to gain from increasing immigration into the United States.

One company on the list was Yelp, an website that provides a platform for user-generated reviews of restaurants, stores, and services. The company does have some offices overseas and likely is seeking cheap IT workers. Multiple e-mails and phone calls to Yelp were never returned.

Another company on the list that stood out was Virgin America, an airline that was created by British entrepreneur Richard Branson. Multiple e-mails and phone calls to Virgin America were also never returned.

Santa Clara University also signed on to the letter, the only school on the list. The school bills itself as "The Jesuit University in Silicon Valley," so they likely received pressure from both the Jesuits and the IT industry to support amnesty. And perhaps being the alma matter of Janet Napolitano had something to do with it.

The list also includes a number of advocacy groups pushing for immigration. The "Partnership for a New American Economy" is on the list, a group made up of a handful of mayors and CEOs, including New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. It also includes News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and the CEOs of Disney and Marriott. (And since Marriott International is already listed on the letter, this could be viewed as a double endorsement). The group might be best described as "Billionaires and Millionaires for Open Borders".

Also on the list is, a pro-amnesty group created by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. The group created an off-shoot called "Americans for a Conservative Direction" aimed at selling amnesty from a conservative perspective (despite the fact that the organization is run by Obama-supporting liberals). It is this group that created the deceptive amnesty ad that starred Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) earlier this year. A line-by-line critique of that ad is available here.

Also signing the letter is the American Action Network, a group that also released a deceptive pro-amnesty ad this year, critiqued here. The letter also included the American Action Forum, the lobbying wing of the American Action Network – another double endorsement.

Finally, the letter was signed by various immigration attorney groups seeking more clients and the pro-amnesty National Immigration Forum.