The Partnership for a New American Economy today joined with tech and innovation leaders to launch the largest-ever virtual march on Washington, calling on lawmakers to pass smart immigration reform that includes measures to help power the U.S. economy. The March for Innovation will bring together luminaries from the tech world with hundreds of thousands of Americans by using Twitter, Facebook, and other online tools to promote immigration legislation that will boost innovation and entrepreneurship.
Supporters of the March include Partnership Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, AOL Co-Founder Steve Case, Brad Feld of the Foundry Group, venture capitalist Mike Maples, angel investor Ron Conway, Joe Green of Nationbuilder (Co-Chair of the March), and Somesh Dash of Institutional Venture Partners (Co-Chair of the March). Joe Trippi, the former campaign manager of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, developed the social media content behind the march.
As Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working on broad bills to fix the many broken elements of our antiquated immigration system, the March will help ensure that any overhaul includes:
•A visa for entrepreneurs who want to come to America to start businesses and create jobs. Countries like Canada, Australia, Chile, Singapore, and the United Kingdom provide visas and roll out the red carpet for entrepreneurs – we currently turn them away.
•A viable pathway for high-skilled workers to come here when our companies need them. Our current system allocates far too few visas for temporary high-skilled workers, even in a down economy.
•Permanent residency status for the world’s top graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields who received advanced degrees from U.S. universities. We currently train and educate these top innovators, only to send them abroad to compete against us.
The campaign site will initially be a recruitment tool to sign up supporters, let them recruit their friends, and use the Thunderclap social media tool to queue up tweets and Facebook posts to drum up support for the day of the March. As the broad bipartisan immigration bills are debated in the Senate and the House of Representatives, the army of supporters recruited to lead the March for Innovation will be engaged to mobilize hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country. Through the site, they will use social media to contact their representatives in Washington to help shape and pass a broad immigration bill that attracts and retains the talent we need to compete in a global economy.
“The immigration debate in Congress should be an opportunity not only to fix the problems of the past, but also to look forward and create an immigration system that brings the best, brightest, and hardest workers to our shores. The Partnership for a New American Economy is organizing this virtual march to bring innovators and entrepreneurs front and center in the immigration debate,” said Partnership for a New American Economy Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.