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Issues and events that shape Long Island's economic and legislative landscape.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

LIA and SVLG Letter in Support of Immigration Reform

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Honorable Charles Schumer                                       Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senate                                                      United States Senate
322 Hart Senate Office Building                                  478 Russell
Washington, DC  20510                                                Washington, DC  20510


Honorable Barbara Boxer                                             Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate                                                      United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building                                   331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510                                                Washington, DC  20510

 

Dear Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Boxer and Feinstein:

The Long Island Association (LIA) and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) are two of the leading business organizations in New York and California and members of the National Metropolitan Business Alliance which is composed of 25 of the nation's most important regional business organizations, representing metropolitan areas that together account for more than 47 percent of United States Gross Domestic Product. We strongly support the federal government's efforts to reform the nation's immigration laws. In particular, we are focused on ensuring that highly-skilled immigrants can legally enter the United States, stay here and help drive the new innovation economy we are building on Long Island and to strengthen the innovation economy in Silicon Valley and throughout the states of New York and California.

The LIA and SVLG support the following principles:

  1. Provide green cards to entrepreneurs who create U.S. jobs and advance STEM degree graduates from U.S. universities.
  2. Expand the H-1B cap and establish a market-based H-1B escalator so that the cap can adjust to the demands of the economy.
  3. Exempt U.S. advanced degree graduates, as well as foreign advanced STEM degree graduates with U.S. work experience, from the green card cap.
  4. Streamline applications and expand visa opportunities for temporary seasonal workers.
  5. Support new visa fees for STEM education.

The pillars of the Long Island and Silicon Valley regions are our prospering innovation economies. It is imperative that major reform legislation is passed this year or otherwise we will continue to lose our economic competitiveness in attracting and retaining the best and brightest. Thus, the federal government must encourage the arrival of more high-tech workers who can travel to and work in the United States. Many of the principal users of visas to secure skilled talent are our leading research and educational facilities, which are integral components of our economy. They need access to immigrants with specialized skills, which in turn will also create jobs and increase economic growth.

In addition, Congress needs to also consider streamlining applications and expanding visa opportunities for temporary seasonal workers. Long Island's East End and many of California's communities rely heavily on foreign workers during our busy agricultural and tourist seasons. Our farmers, restaurants and hotels depend on immigrants to meet their employment needs.

The Long Island and Silicon Valley business communities support the bipartisan effort of the Senate Gang of 8 and appreciate the inclusion in their proposal of many of the items for which we have advocated. As Senators that represent two states with large economies and a significant stake in the outcome, we urge you to lead the way in passing meaningful, common sense immigration reforms, which will spur economic activity and create jobs.

 Respectfully Submitted,

Kevin_Law.jpg                               CarlGuardino.gif

Kevin S. Law                                                                  Carl Guardino
President and CEO                                                      President and CEO
Long Island Association                                             Silicon Valley Leadership Group

 

cc:        New York Congressional Delegation
             California Congressional Delegation