Some of the biggest tech companies have publicly advocated for Congress to establish a path to citizenship for “dreamers” or people who have lived in the United States without official permission since arriving in the country as minors.
These technology companies, including IBM, Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Microsoft, HP, Amazon and Selling power, co-signed a letter earlier in March calling for a permanent legislative solution. “Continued delay or inaction will have a significant negative economic and social impact on businesses and hundreds of thousands of deserving young people across the country,” this letter added.
Under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), established by the Obama administration in 2012, “dreamers” are eligible for work permits in the United States, as well as deferred action. of expulsion. The Trump administration has announced its intention to end DACA, triggering a series of lawsuits. In January 2021, President Biden issued a decree which preserved and strengthened DACA.
The push by tech companies on DACA is another sign that the tech industry is doing its best to influence the Biden administration in particular directions when it comes to immigration. During the Trump administration, many of these companies vigorously repelled attempts by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security to restrict H-1B and H-4 EAD visas. , largely through legal action in response to the new legislation. .
The Biden administration is still relatively new, and its ultimate immigration intentions are somewhat unclear. For example, while a Trump-era ban on H-1B visas is still technically in place, registration for the H-1B visa lottery for fiscal 2022 is expected to begin March 9 through end of the month. Meanwhile, while Biden appears determined to overturn many of Trump’s policies, his 2021 U.S. citizenship law would prioritize visas based on wages – an idea first floated during his predecessor’s tenure.
Tech companies have hailed what they see as Biden’s commitment to immigration reform. “In the coming weeks and months, business leaders look forward to working with the administration, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress, to find bipartisan, practical and comprehensive solutions to fix our system. ‘Broken immigration, including a permanent solution for dreamers that includes a path to citizenship,’ said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. said in a January 2021 statement.
Within the tech industry, of course, there is the view that a broad immigration policy – including reforms for dreamers and H-1B holders – will allow tech companies to stay. competitive. “[T]USA must win the international talent competition by improving both STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education and our system for admitting and retaining highly skilled immigrants, ”Eric Schmidt, former CEO and chairman of Google, and Robert Work, former deputy secretary of defense, written in a recent report for the National Security Commission on Artificial intelligence. Tech executives hope the Biden administration will make these policies a reality.
Meanwhile, immigration critics (especially those of the H-1B system) argue that broad policies will undermine the position of tech workers who are U.S. citizens. This party might also have hope in some of the Biden administration’s recent measures, including this proposal to raise wages for H-1B workers, which undermines the business model of consulting firms widely seen as visa abusers. . But at this point, it’s too early to determine what the Biden administration will actually be able to push through Congress.