Tech Firms Consider Cutting a Separate Deal

By John Miano on April 8, 2014

A big problem has suddenly arisen with the "comprehensive immigration reform" bill. Groups representing technology companies are breaking ranks and trying to pass a guestworker-only bill on their own.

In the Washington Examiner, Byron York's analysis of the break mistakenly refers to the goals of the parties as "immigration reform" or even "comprehensive immigration reform."

The reality is there is no reform in "comprehensive immigration reform." The bill in question simply takes the broken system we have now and adds over a thousand pages of complexity to it.

If you actually read the bill, you find it contains three main elements:

  1. Amnesty for illegal aliens
  2. Virtually unlimited guest workers
  3. Money for special interest groups

What Mr. York has missed is that the break by big business illustrates the nature of the coalition. Democrats had been holding increases in guest workers hostage in exchange for an illegal alien amnesty. Big business made the calculation that joining in amnesty push would be the best way to get their cheap foreign labor.

That didn't turn out to be such a good deal for big business.

Now, business has seen that the seen that the amnesty is the most hotly opposed part of the bill. For example, my own congressman, Leonard Lance (R-NJ), said in telephone town hall meeting that he is opposed to amnesty but open to more STEM guest workers.

Mr. York correctly observes:

Compete America is a group that calls itself the "leading advocate for reform of U.S. immigration policyfor highly educated foreign professionals." Its members are some of the biggest names in the tech world: Amazon, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft and many others.

CompeteAmerica also includes some of the biggest names in immigration law, including the American Council on International Personnel and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Apparently the immigration lawyers want to cut their losses, too, and just get the H-1B increase.

The defection by big business provides another example of how "comprehensiveness" is a fraud. There never was a "delicate balance" or an intrinsic need to put all its elements in a single bill, as its sponsors repeatedly have claimed. The bill is neither comprehensive nor reform. It is simply a product of a smoke-filled-room deal among the parties who bought access to the process, leaving average Americans – and even potential immigrants – out in the cold.