SAN JOSE (KCBS) — President Obama's immigration announcement on Thursday fell failed to impress the technology industry in Silicon Valley as there were no assurances for an increase in hi-tech visas.
Silicon Valley's Hi-Tech Industry Underwhelmed With Pres. Obama's Immigration Reform
In his speech, Pres. Obama said he "would make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants to stay and contribute to our economy" but did not mention increasing the number of H-1B visas that many Silicon Valley companies have been lobbying for.
The H-1B is a temporary visa that allows skilled foreign workers in certain sectors to remain in the U.S. for up to six years.
Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group said the president's executive order could be a setback for high-tech industry.
"The president's action for low-wage workers may make it even more difficult for there to be bi-partisan legislation during the remainder of this term, which would mean eight years of this presidency, who we have always believed is firmly committed to immigration reform to benefit the innovation economy will have slipped through our fingers," he said.
Last year's immigration bill that passed the Senate would have increased H-1B visas by at least 50,000. Many legal experts say, however, that Obama would have stood on shaky legal ground if he tried to expand the visa program.
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