By Jennifer Martinez - 03/04/13 09:30 PM EST
He encouraged lawmakers to continue work toward comprehensive immigration reform in a bipartisan fashion, noting that immigrants have been central to the growth of American businesses like Verizon.
"Throughout our history, immigrants have come here and have created the American Dream," the Verizon CEO wrote. "They have worked and invented, started new businesses and industries and contributed to the strength of our society. This has allowed companies such as Verizon to innovate, grow, and improve our customers' communities."
Passing comprehensive immigration reform is a top priority for the White House this year. In both the House and the Senate, bipartisan groups of lawmakers are hammering away on legislation.
Some tech associations have acknowledged that the best chance of getting high-skilled immigration reform passed in Congress this year is to include it in a comprehensive immigration bill. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle support reforming the immigration rules applied to highly educated and skilled workers, but tough obstacles lie ahead in the immigration debate when it comes to finding a compromise on thorny issues like a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
However, some lawmakers and trade groups are also skeptical of increasing the number of temporary H-1B worker visas available to skilled workers because they say the program has been plagued with fraud and abuse. The IEEE-USA, a trade association that represents engineers and scientists in Washington, has criticized the H-1B program in the past.
The House and Senate Judiciary Committees have already held hearings focused on immigration reform this year. The House Judiciary Committee's subpanel on immigration will hold a hearing on Tuesday that focuses on ways to reform the existing immigration laws for highly skilled and educated workers on Tuesday.
A representative for the IEEE-USA will be testifying at the subcommittee hearing, along with Dean Garfield, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council; Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council; and Deepak Kamra, general partner of venture capital firm Canaan Partners.