SEMI Members Urge Pres. Obama and Congress to Enact High-Skilled Immigration Reform

SEMI Members and other Leading High-Tech Executives Urge President Obama and Congress to Enact High-Skilled Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. — March 15, 2013 — SEMI, and other leading innovation advocacy organizations, with more than 100 executives from the technology sector, including SEMI member companies, called on President Obama and Congress to approve legislation this year to reform America’s high-skilled immigration system.  The executives wrote to the President and Congressional leadership to call for reforms to enable a more open and flexible U.S. immigration system to embrace highly-skilled workers. The letter was organized by TechNet. SEMI member company executives who signed the letter include Mike Splinter, CEO of Applied Materials; Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel; and Kirk Gregg, EVP and CAO of Corning.

Fifteen of the CEOs and senior-level industry executives met with President Obama yesterday to talk about cybersecurity, taxes and immigration reform. The executives included:  Safra Catz, president and COO of Oracle; John Chambers, CEO and chairman of Cisco; Weili Dai, co-founder of Marvell Technology Group; Ajit Manocha, CEO of GlobalFoundries; Ned Brody, CEO of AOL Networks; Mary Humiston, SVP of global HR at Applied Materials; Christopher Goode, VP of global corporate affairs and public policy at EMC; Kirk Gregg, EVP and CAO of Corning; Brad Brubaker, SVP, general counsel and corporate secretary of SAP America; and Gordon Coburn, president of Cognizant.

The following is the text of the letter from leading technology executives:

“One of the biggest economic challenges facing our nation is the need for more qualified, highly-skilled professionals, domestic and foreign, who can create jobs and immediately contribute to and improve our economy. As leaders of technology companies from around the country, we want to thank you for your sincere efforts in addressing high skilled immigration and we urge that you and your colleagues enact reform legislation this year.

“As you know, the United States has a long history of welcoming talented, hard- working people to our shores. Immigrant entrepreneurs have gone on to found thousands of companies with household names like eBay, Google, PayPal and Yahoo! to name just a few. These companies provide jobs, drive economic growth and generate tax revenue at all levels of government.

“Yet because our current immigration system is outdated and inefficient, many high- skilled immigrants who want to stay in America are forced to leave because they are unable to obtain permanent visas. Some do not bother to come in the first place. This is often due to visa shortages, long waits for green cards, and lack of mobility. We believe that numerical levels and categories for high-skilled nonimmigrant and immigrant visas should be responsive to market needs and, where appropriate, include mechanisms to fluctuate based on objective standards. In addition, spouses and children should not be counted against the cap of high-skilled immigrant visas. There should not be a marriage or family penalty.

“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs requiring highly skilled individuals. Four high-tech companies alone – IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle – have combined 10,000 openings in the United States. Each one of these jobs has the potential to create many others, directly and indirectly. Bipartisan legislation currently introduced in the Senate, such as The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, and the Start-Up Visa Act, will encourage innovation here in the U.S. by allowing American companies and entrepreneurs to have access to the talented workers they need while simultaneously investing in STEM education here in the U.S. We know what it will take to keep America in a position of global leadership. We know that when America is leading, our economic growth follows to the benefit of our nation’s workforce.

“We call on you to address the need for more qualified, highly-skilled professionals, domestic and foreign, and to enact immigration reform this year. We look forward to working with you and your colleagues in a bipartisan way as we move forward in our common interest.”

Other executives have signed the letter:

  • Jonathan Zuck, president, Association for Competitive Technology
  • Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO, AT&T
  • KR Sridhar, CEO, Bloom Energy
  • Robert Holleyman, president and CEO, BSA | The Software Alliance
  • John Chambers, CEO, Cisco
  • Gary Shapiro, CEO and president, Consumer Electronics Association
  • John Donahoe, CEO, eBay, Inc.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder, Chairman and CEO, Facebook
  • Randy Fry, president, Fry's Electronics
  • Eric Schmidt, exec. chairman, Google
  • Meg Whitman, president and CEO, Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Mitchell Gaynor, exec VP, Secretary & Gen Counsel, Juniper Networks
  • Tom Savage, VP, Global Legal Affairs and Gov Policy, Marvell Semiconductor
  • Bradford L.  Smith, Gen Counsel and exec VP, Legal/Corp Affairs, Microsoft
  • Bob Greifeld, CEO, NASDAQ OMX
  • Mark Heesen, president, National Venture Capital Association
  • Safra Catz, president and CFO, Oracle
  • Joseph Taylor, chairman and CEO, Panasonic Corporation of North America
  • Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman of the Board and CEO, Qualcomm Inc.
  • Brian Toohey, CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association
  • Carl Guardino, president and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
  • Aart de Geus, chairman and Co-CEO, Synopsys, Inc.
  • Shawn Osborne, president and CEO, TechAmerica
  • Rey Ramsey, CEO, TechNet
  • Michael Beckerman, president and  CEO, The Internet Association
  • Marissa Mayer, CEO, president and director, Yahoo!
  • Mark Pincus, CEO, Zynga


The leading technology associations joining TechNet in this effort include: SEMI;  Association for Competitive Technology; Bay Area Council; Business Software Alliance, Consumer Electronics Association; Information Technology Industry Council; Internet Association; National Venture Capital Association; Silicon Valley Leadership Group; and TechAmerica.

A copy of the letter is available at

Media Contacts:

SEMI: Deborah Geiger, 408-943-7988,

TechNet:  Jim Hock, 463 Communications, 202-463-0013 ext. 202,

Association for Competitive Technology: Jonathan Godfrey, 202-331-2130,

Bay Area Council:  Rufus Jeffris, 415-946-8725,

Business Software Alliance: Randolph Court,

Consumer Electronics Association: Laura Hubbard, 703-907-4326,

Information Technology Industry Council: Meghan Fletcher, 202-524-4389,

Internet Association: Betsy Barrett,

National Venture Capital Association: Emily Mendell, 610-565-3904,

Silicon Valley Leadership Group:  Steve Wright, 408-501-7853,

TechAmerica: Stephanie Craig, 202-682-4443,


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