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Innovators staging 'virtual march' on Washington to lobby for immigration law reform


A coalition of CEOs, startup founders and venture capitalists is mounting a virtual campaign to encourage Congress to pass immigration law reform they argue would encourage innovation and create jobs.

Pointing to the high proportion of immigrants working in places like Silicon Valley, the site is funded by the New American Economy Action  Fund, a lobby group on immigration registered by Ogilvy Government Relations.

The 'virtual march' strategy was announced as the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security holds a number of hearings this week, and as Congress is set for a major debate on immigration in this session. 

The founders and CEOs of ventures like Dropbox, Tumblr and Craigslist are on the signature list along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who made a statement on the issue in mid-2012 when the New American Economy Action Fund released a study.

“Now that we know immigrants are behind more than three of every four patents from leading universities, the federal laws that send so many of them back to their home countries look even more patently wrong,”

The March for Innovation outlines its principles on its web site, and says that the 'virtual' march will be timed for 'maximum impact.' The movement aims to:

  • Drive new business creation by providing visas to entrepreneurs who want to come to America to start businesses and create jobs. Countries like Canada, UK, Australia, Chile, and Singapore give visas and roll out the red carpet for entrepreneurs. We turn them away.
  • Attract and retain the high skilled workers our economy needs by creating a viable pathway for high-skilled workers to come here when our companies need them. Our current system allocates far too few visas for temporary high skilled workers even in slow economic times, and sets up expensive and complicated application procedures that stand in the way of obtaining the workers our companies need to compete and grow.
  • Power our innovation economy by granting permanent residency to the world's leading graduates in science, engineering, technology, and math who receive advanced degrees from U.S. universities. We currently train many of the world's leading innovators in our universities only to send them abroad to compete against us.
  • Seize the moment and reform our laws. There has been no substantive reform of our immigration laws since 1965. Immigration has been treated as a political football rather than a serious policy issue requiring reasoned debate. Now is the time for change. We march to ensure that the broad immigration bills being considered in Congress include provisions to boost innovation and entrepreneurship, and we march to seize the moment and get immigration reform passed.
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