Coalition Urges President Obama to Take Action on Immigration

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014, 11:00am

by Dan Rosso, Vice President, Communications

As part of our ongoing effort to advance high-skilled immigration reform, SIA and a diverse coalition of business, family and immigration organizations this week sent a letter to President Barack Obama in support of executive action to address America’s dysfunctional immigration system. Specifically, the letter urges the President to help reduce immigration backlogs by mandating that only legal immigrant workers – not their spouses or children – count against the immigration limits called for by federal law:

“This one reform – counting principals only – helps everyone.  It would significantly accelerate family unification, eliminate the backlogs for employment-based green cards, and reduce the pressure for unauthorized immigration. Yet it would not increase legal immigration by a single person, because every beneficiary is already eligible for a green card. It simply dramatically reduces the wait.”

Fixing this broken policy is a small but meaningful step toward improving America’s outdated and ineffective immigration system, which for too long has been an impediment to U.S. innovation and economic growth. According to a recent study, each highly educated immigrant who stays and works in the U.S. creates nearly three additional American jobs, and many of America’s most innovative companies – including several SIA members – were founded and led by immigrants. It simply makes no sense to force highly educated immigrants to leave the country because they are unable to obtain visas.

In May, the Obama Administration announced two initiatives aimed at enabling highly skilled workers and researchers from around the world to contribute to the U.S. economy and eventually become American citizens. In June, the President declared that he would take action on immigration “before the end of summer.”

The best and most effective path forward is for Congress to work together to overhaul the immigration system, and SIA will continue to advocate for meaningful legislative reform. But given U.S. businesses’ increasingly urgent need for access to the world’s top talent – and Congress’s inability to agree to immigration reform legislation before the August recess – the time has come for executive action to begin the process of fixing America’s deeply flawed immigration system.