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Tech industry announces 'virtual march' for immigration reform

Techie groups are taking a stand on immigration reform the only way they know how: a virtual march. Leaders from AOL and Mozilla are just a couple of the influential people behind a virtual push to get lawmakers to change current immigration laws.

The "virtual march for immigration reform," which was announced today, is aimed at promoting employment immigration reform that would make it easier for high-tech workers from around the globe to live and work in the United States.

The campaign will attempt to gain followers and then set a date this spring when participants will flood lawmakers with Tweets, Facebook posts and other virtual means of communication.

Leaders in the technology industries say it is currently very difficult to bring high-tech workers into the United States and keep them here with the current work visas.

"We've got to make the case that in today's economy the currency is talent, and we need the talent in this country if we want to continue to be the great economic leader that we are," said the chief policy adviser for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Partnership for a New American Economy, which is backing the virtual march.

"What we're essentially doing is having tech leaders use technology to influence the debate," the chief policy adviser said. "In the in the old days, people used to hire a lobbyist."

In particular, the movement wants to persuade lawmakers to provide more visas for workers in the tech fields; create a new visa for entrepreneurs, similar to those in some other industrialized nations; and allow permanent resident status for immigrants who graduate from U.S. universities with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Source: Associated Press, "Tech leaders plan virtual push on immigration," Erica Werner, Feb. 25, 2013

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