Since President Donald Trump was elected, Silicon Valley leaders have railed against government policies that restrict immigrants' ability to work legally in the United States.

The latest development in that fight comes from FWD.us, a tech lobbying group founded in 2013 by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The group released a report Tuesday that examines the economic impact of the administration's policies and calls for effective immigration reform. FWD.us has many other industry heavyweights behind it, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Dropbox founder Drew Houston.

"There is no question that our immigration system is fundamentally outdated and broken, but the answer cannot be to simply shut the door," the report reads. "Instead, we must begin the hard but crucial work of reform to ensure that immigration remains a driver of our economy and America's unique competitive advantage for generations to come."

The Trump administration has been clamping down on the H1-B visa program, which applies to highly skilled workers coveted by tech companies. The new report, however, focuses on the H-4 visa, which allows spouses of H1-B visa holders to work in the U.S. for up to six years. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced
plans to scrap the H-4 visa.

The report also calls for implementing the International Entrepreneur Rule, which would help international founders launch startups in the U.S. While the Department of Homeland Security approved the rule in January 2017, the Trump administration has placed it on hold and reportedly plans to eliminate it. Additionally, FWD.us's report advocates for the Optional Practical Training program, which allows students with F-1 visas to work in the U.S. for a year after earning their degree. The program is in effect, but the administration has plans to eliminate it or reduce the length of time for work authorization. 

FWD.us has opposed other immigration policy changes, including the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. The White House scrapped the program in September, but a federal court ruled on Tuesday that the rules must stay in place and the government must resume accepting new applications.

Published on: Apr 25, 2018