Sen. Patrick Leahy, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Steve Case at a Senate panel hearing on immigration, Feb. 13. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
AOL Inc. co-founder Steve Case—one of the tech world's leading immigration reform cheerleaders—says liberals will have to compromise on the sweeping Senate bill if it has a shot of passing the Republican-led House.
"We don’t want to win the battle in the Senate and then lose the war in the House," Case told Yahoo News.
Case, who served on President Barack Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and leads the White House's Startup America Partnership initiative, said Democrats will need to compromise further on the bill in order for it to pass the Senate with 70 votes or more. "Seventy votes will really send a signal of bipartisanship," Case said. "I think that signal is important to the House because that, frankly, is where there’s going to be a heavier lift."
The bill will legalize most of the country's 11 million unauthorized immigrants. It will also significantly overhaul the nation's legal immigration system, orienting it slightly away from family-based immigration to give more visas to highly skilled foreign workers and green cards to promising science and math graduates of U.S. colleges.
Silicon Valley has poured millions into lobbying over the bill, winning it tech-friendly provisions such as raising the yearly cap on H-1B temporary high-skilled visas from 65,000 to as many as 180,000; providing visas for people who found start-up companies; and loosening restrictions on how extensively businesses must try to fill jobs with U.S. workers before they can recruit abroad.
Some of these provisions have raised the ire of immigrant advocacy groups and organized labor, which tend to be suspicious of too much employment-based immigration, fearing that businesses will favor foreign workers and push down wages. But so far, the liberal-leaning groups, tech companies and business have managed to stay allies on reform.Read More »from Steve Case urges liberals to compromise on Senate immigration bill