Engine to Senate Judiciary: Pass Immigration Reform Now


Engine endorses the Senate “Gang of 8” proposal on comprehensive immigration reform. So, on behalf of more than 500 startup members and other startup companies across the U.S., we sent a letter of support to Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA) and the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

We thought it prudent at this juncture to thank the Senators who have been working hard on this proposal. Going forward, we hope their good work will be the subject of robust debate and then we’ll look towards the swift passage of this bill as we march towards solving our nation’s broken immigration system.

The Judiciary Committee is the first stop on the bill’s journey to hopefully becoming law. The markup process that begins today will amend and refine the legislation into a bill that can pass in the Senate, and one that can also do real and permanent good for people and businesses across the country who are in need of a working immigration system.

As we’ve said before, you can take action as well by committing to remain a vocal participant in this process. You can sign up for the March for Innovation which is now only 11 days away. It is only with your voice that we’ll be able to make a difference on this issue, so sign up, get involved and let your voice be heard today.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley and members of the Committee,

I’m writing to you, on behalf of the startup community, in support of S. 744 -- the recent Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposal released by your Senate colleagues. Engine Advocacy represents more than 500 startup companies from all across the United States, and we believe the provisions in this bill would greatly benefit the startup community, and therefore the U.S economy as a whole.

New and young firms are responsible for all new net job growth since 1980, according to research from the Kauffman Foundation. In addition, our own Tech Works research projected that for every job created in the high-tech sector, 4.3 additional jobs will be created in the local goods and services economy, including barbers, lawyers, and health care professionals. Finally, with forty percent of Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants, or the children of immigrants, it’s critically important that we safeguard the ability of the next generation of founders to start business here.

The proposed INVEST visa will directly benefit immigrant founders and entrepreneurs who want to start a business here, and already have the support of local venture capitalists. In addition, raising the H-1B visa cap, and expanding the green card system with merit-based visas for high-skilled immigrants, will also make it easier for startups to employ much needed workers. Taking into account recent developments, we also support Senator Hatch’s amendment to make the H-1B visa cap responsive to market demand.

We applaud the work already done by your Senatorial colleagues and look forward to a spirited debate, a robust amendments process, and the opportunity to be a resource for the committee and the Senate at large as the debate advances. In the end, the continued good work of this committee and of Congress can affect real and permanent good for our country -- helping to catalyze continued economic growth in our community, and opportunity for the country as a whole. Startups can power the next generation of growth in the American economy if we let them.

We hope that you will support this proposal that will lay the foundations for a prosperous future.

With thanks,

Michael McGeary
Engine Advocacy

Photo courtesy of Talk Radio News Service.