Business, Ag Leaders Need Immigration Solutions

Communications Associate

December 14, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Immigration will be on the agenda when leaders in the high-tech industry, from companies including Facebook, Microsoft and Google, meet with President-elect Donald Trump in New York City today.

They likely will discuss how the incoming administration’s immigration policies will affect the technology sector, in which immigrants are essential. Immigrants founded more than half of the U.S.’s billion-dollar startups, according to the National Foundation for American Policy. Immigrant entrepreneurs are helping the U.S. lead in the health, energy, information technology and financial services sectors.

Immigrants contribute not only in Silicon Valley but across the jobs spectrum. Business leaders want changes to our visa programs to help them fill jobs in sectors ranging from high-tech to agriculture, as the Wall Street Journal reports.

From tomatoes in Florida to cherries in California, our food supply depends on immigrant workers. Growers are expressing concern about existing labor shortages, and agriculture leaders are warning against stricter enforcement without simultaneous steps to address workforce needs through updating the legal immigration system.

Some Trump supporters underscore these concerns.

“I voted for Trump — we need to shake things up. But I’d like to hear his plan to give more visas for agricultural workers,” Miguel Martínez, a lettuce farmer in Yuma, Arizona, told the New York Times. “If no American wants these jobs, are we going to let the lettuce go rotten?”

“Our visa system is a quarter-century old, which is holding back our competitiveness and undermining the family values we hold dear,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “A modernized visa system that honors family unity would help the American workers who benefit when we innovate and when our food is home-grown. Our economy and our families demand a 21st-century immigration process.”