The San Francisco #ICodeImmigration event kicked off with a fascinating political overview from David Chavern, the President of the US Chamber’s Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation. Mr. Chavern is currently working on expanding the Chamber to the West Coast in order to better integrate the technology community into their advocacy work. 
Ilya Fushman, Head of Product, Business, and Mobile at Dropbox shared his immigration story. He immigrated to the U.S. from Russia and set down roots in Manhattan on his father’s small salary. He then worked his way up through the entrepreneurial and startup community as a young adult.
The panel discussion, moderated by Julie Samuels, the Executive Director of Engine Advocacy, covered the intricacies and pains of the current immigration system.
Alex Torrenegra, the CEO and Founder of Bunny, Inc and Torrenegra Labs, and a foreign-born founder from Columbia, told the immigration story of his CTO, who couldn’t get his U.S. visa and so returned to Columbia to work remotely. Alex said that the CTO has since hired 10 employees in Columbia — an indication of the direct job loss suffered by the U.S. due to our broken immigration system. Jerome Ternynck, CEO and Founder of SmartRecruiters and French-born relayed a similar story about one of his employees.
Adrienne Pon, Executive Director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs for the City of San Francisco, recounted the importance of immigration reform advocates taking creative action beyond just writing letters. She emphasized the importance of grassroots events that draw attention to and amplify the issue. 
Zac Bookman, CEO and Founder of OpenGov, finished out the event with a strong call to action, emphasizing the power the tech community has to amplify the call for immigration reform.

The San Francisco #ICodeImmigration event kicked off with a fascinating political overview from David Chavern, the President of the US Chamber’s Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation. Mr. Chavern is currently working on expanding the Chamber to the West Coast in order to better integrate the technology community into their advocacy work. 

Ilya Fushman, Head of Product, Business, and Mobile at Dropbox shared his immigration story. He immigrated to the U.S. from Russia and set down roots in Manhattan on his father’s small salary. He then worked his way up through the entrepreneurial and startup community as a young adult.

The panel discussion, moderated by Julie Samuels, the Executive Director of Engine Advocacy, covered the intricacies and pains of the current immigration system.

Alex Torrenegra, the CEO and Founder of Bunny, Inc and Torrenegra Labs, and a foreign-born founder from Columbia, told the immigration story of his CTO, who couldn’t get his U.S. visa and so returned to Columbia to work remotely. Alex said that the CTO has since hired 10 employees in Columbia — an indication of the direct job loss suffered by the U.S. due to our broken immigration system. Jerome Ternynck, CEO and Founder of SmartRecruiters and French-born relayed a similar story about one of his employees.

Adrienne Pon, Executive Director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs for the City of San Francisco, recounted the importance of immigration reform advocates taking creative action beyond just writing letters. She emphasized the importance of grassroots events that draw attention to and amplify the issue. 

Zac Bookman, CEO and Founder of OpenGov, finished out the event with a strong call to action, emphasizing the power the tech community has to amplify the call for immigration reform.

[Former GOP Representative and NRCC Chair Tom Davis] understands that reforms are needed for the economy and for his own party. Under existing laws, many talented scientists and entrepreneurs who earn degrees from U.S. universities are forced to return to their home countries or to nations with more friendly immigration laws.

Davis also argued that the GOP is harmed when its leaders allow the issue to fester, alienating immigrant communities that might otherwise embrace the party and ignoring growing public support for a solution. He said pushing a decision off until the next presidential election will only make consensus more difficult to achieve… 

While congressional leaders dillydally, these super-achievers [immigrant entrepreneurs] are creating jobs. They could do much more, if only Congress would get moving. 

Rep. John Shimkus on Immigration Reform

On Tuesday April 22nd, Rep. John Shimkus released the following statement on immigration reform:

“My position on immigration reform has not changed. I do not support the Senate bill that includes a path to citizenship. I do support and my district supports a strong ag (agricultural) worker bill. I also support bills providing expedited visas for high tech workers, stronger border security and worker verification.

We also have to address the 12 million undocumented immigrants who are already here by moving them legally into the workforce, not by granting them unconditional amnesty. These are tough issues and emotions run high on both sides of the debate. I’m hopeful the business and religious communities can be helpful in bringing both sides together to bring meaningful reform to our broken immigration system.”

Local Carolina Leaders Call for Vote on Immigration Reform

With members of Congress home for the April recess, top North and South Carolina faith, business and law enforcement leaders — as well as key national voices — met today to discuss immigration and urge Congress to vote this year.

The panelists spoke to the economic, moral and security imperatives for reform and called for a vote on legislation that will offer stability for our communities, our families and our economy. The meeting is one of more than 60 recess events happening across 50 districts nationwide.

The following quotes are from speakers at today’s event:

Linda Andrews, National Legislative Director, North Carolina Farm Bureau:

“Failure to address immigration reform impacts the stability of the Agriculture industry, which will also affect every citizen, the economy and the country’s food safety.”

Brad Dean, President & CEO, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce:

“Our members represent a broad spectrum of business interests, but tourism is the lynchpin of the Myrtle Beach area economy. We welcome millions of visitors each year and during our busiest months local hotels and restaurants need seasonal workers to meet consumer demand. Congress has debated this issue for years but now is the time for solutions. We need sensible immigration policies for our economy to grow.”

Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President, Public Policy and Research, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

“Immigration reform is a family matter. Today young children are going to school not knowing if their mothers or fathers will be there when they come home. I cannot imagine growing up with that kind of insecurity; or worse, the loss of a loving, hardworking parent who has been deported. Those of us who believe that healthy families are the backbone of society should care about the future of these children. Our futures are intertwined with theirs. For their sakes as well as ours we must reform our broken immigration system in a way that respects the rule of law but also respects every person affected, especially every child in our midst.”

Dr. Dennis Hollinger, President, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:

“Human dignity and justice compel us to deal with immigration reform. Reform is essential not only for immigrants sake, but for the health of our nation.”

Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst, CATO Institute:

“Reforming the immigration system will be a clear and large economic shot-in-the-arm for the United States. Immigrants increase both the supply and demand sides of the U.S. economy—enriching themselves and the rest of us in the process. Immigration is an overly-regulated sector of the economy.”

Steve Rao, At-Large Councilman, Town of Morrisville, N.C.:

“Recruiting and retaining global talent is critical to the continued economic growth of the United States. I urge the U.S. Congress to pass immigration reform so our nation can be a destination for the best and brightest minds in the world to create jobs, foster innovation and provide a highly skilled workforce for our country.”

Rev. Derrick Smith, Senior Pastor, Kaleidoscope Multi-Ethnic Fellowship, Spartanburg, S.C.:

“Is it the duty of the American Christian to keep immigrants outside of our borders, or to get them into the kingdom of God? As a Southern Baptist multi-ethnic church pastor, I’m participating in Americans for Reform: Carolina because I believe God’s Word is true and there is a biblical mandate to welcome the stranger. The political process is not something I enjoy, but I am willing to take a political stand when it is directly mandated by Scripture.”

C.J. Stephens, Former North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper:

“Immigration needs practical solutions that emphasize accountability and opportunities. Reforming immigration will strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve by improving on the dysfunctional relationship between law enforcement and the undocumented community. It’s important for law enforcement to be involved in the community they serve. The relationship between community and law enforcement is strengthened when there is trust between them. Trust within the community can reduce crime because criminal acts are reported without fear of deportation. I believe morally that immigration reform is the right to thing to do.”

O­fficer Kay Wang, Retired Charleston Police Officer & Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army:

“Failure to address immigration impacts road safety for the driving public.  The need for a temporary or provisional license for the undocumented immigrant population is essential. A temporary or provisional license means the undocumented will study for a department of motor vehicle knowledge test and road test too. It means safer roads.” 

Join the conversation on Twitter using #VoteOnReform.

ICYMI: Illinois, Virginia Republicans Speak Strongly for Immigration Reform

Republican leaders in Illinois and Virginia, including two members of Congress, spoke out Tuesday in support of immigration reform.

An event in Chicago featured comments from prominent Republicans including Congressmen Aaron Schock and Adam Kinzinger, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, two former Illinois governors and others. “We need a clear path to citizenship for workers who are already here and a fair and efficient on-ramp for those who want to come here,” Schock said. 

Meanwhile, in Virginia, former Congressman Tom Davis stressed that House Republicans should move forward with reform because inaction is hurting them politically: “The status quo is entirely unacceptable … Politically for Republicans, this is an issue that needs to be resolved.” The Roanoke Times — in House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s district — picked up on Davis’s comments, editorializing that “reforms are needed for the economy and for [Davis’s] own party.”

Leaders are weighing in as conservative leaders across the country participate in congressional recess events and urge a vote on immigration reform. Events such as Tuesday’s in Illinois and one this afternoon in Charlotte underscore the depth and breadth of support for House action this year.

GOP Conference Chair: #VoteOnReform Soon

"There’s certainly been a broad coalition between the agriculture community, the faith-based community and the technology and other employers who need skilled workers," Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chair of the Republican House Conference, told KUMA-News.

"I’m hopeful that, over the next few months, you’re going to start seeing more of these bills move through the process," she said.

Illinois Leaders Call for #VoteOnReform: 4 Photos

Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform, FWD.us, the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition and others hosted an event in Chicago featuring a bevy of influential business leaders and Republican politicians calling for a vote on immigration reform. Here are our four favorite photos taken by BBB Field Director Nora Feely:

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert

Carole Segal, Founder, Crate and Barrel 

Douglas R. Oberhelman, CEO, Caterpillar, Inc.

A overflow crowd filled the room:

Nevada Baptist Preacher: “Love Thy Neighbor”

"Our faith teaches us to love thy neighbor.  It does not say to only love our neighbor that looks like us.  We need to open our hearts on the issue of immigration.  When we do we will naturally see that we have to find a just solution that respects the law and respects the immigrant."  -Bill Muck, Granite Hills Baptist Church in Reno, NV after meeting with Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-2) on April 23, 2014. 

', 'tumblr.com'); ga('send', 'pageview');