Patients First: Immigrant Innovations in Health Tech

Posted by on July 07, 2014.

Last week, we hosted a roundtable discussion event on health technology at the Impact Hub in San Francisco, California. The discussion, Patients First: Immigrant Innovations in Health Tech, featured over 20 participants. The event focused on tech contributions from the immigrant community and defined clearly the connection between health technology and immigration reform. Attendees discussed specifically recent developments in primary care, predictive analytics, health-tech related legislation and mobile applications. 

The discussion was led by Rishi Misra of Archimedes, Tia Gao of One Medical Group, and Justin Ip of Kerros Health. Each spoke to their respective sub-sectors and as immigrants themselves, were all uniquely positioned to appreciate both immigration challenges associated with entrepreneurship and contributions to health technology.

Join our next conversation on technology and immigration reform at an event near you. 


Dallas Forum on the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform

Posted by on July 01, 2014.


Today, AT&T Inc., the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, FWD.us, the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Business Leadership Council hosted a forum to discuss the positive economic impact of immigration reform in the United States. The event was held at the George W. Bush Presidential Institute at The George W. Bush Presidential Center and brought together leaders from the business, media, faith and advocacy fields. Speakers included: Randall L. Stephenson, Chairman and CEO, AT&T Inc.; Joe Green, Founder and President, FWD.us; Bill Hammond, CEO, Texas Association of Business; Dr. Daniel Sanchez, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas; and Scott Braddock, The Quorum Report, who will moderate the event.

“Immigration reform in the United States is long overdue, and we are thrilled to host this event to discuss the positive impacts reform will have on the economy of Texas and nation as a whole,” said FWD.us President and Founder Joe Green. “Immigration reform will enable us to create an economy with opportunity for all. Further, it would grow our economy by $37 million every day, according to statistics from the Congressional Budget Office. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to fix our broken immigration system now and secure a brighter tomorrow for all Americans.”

Texas is home to over 4 million immigrants – or roughly 1 in 6 Texans – and immigrant entrepreneurs are vital to the state’s economy. Further, highly-skilled immigrant workers have a significant presence in the state and contribute to the success of employers based in Texas.

Expanding the high-skilled visa program would create an estimated 36,400 new jobs in Texas by 2020, according to the American Immigration Council. By 2045, approximately $13 billion could be added to gross state product by expanding the high-skilled visa program. Finally, personal income could increase by more than $11 billion during that time.


Only Way to Fix Broken Immigration System is "Permanent Legislative Solution"

Posted by on June 30, 2014.

Joe Green, Founder and President of FWD.us, released the following statement today after President Obama announced that he would take executive action on immigration reform:

“It's been over one year since the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill, and we have long called on House Republican Leadership and members of the House GOP conference to take action on meaningful reform legislation to fix our fundamentally broken immigration system.

“More than 3 in 4 Americans across the political spectrum support fixing our broken immigration system - including a majority of self-identified Republicans - and understand that it's well past time for House Republicans to take action. Americans are deeply frustrated that House Republicans have thus far failed to bring legislation to a vote: every day without reform, our economy loses $37 million in revenue, we miss out on the creation of American jobs, and millions of American families live in fear of separation.

“While President Obama has taken necessary steps to address temporarily some of the urgent problems plaguing our nation in the face of over a year of unacceptable inaction by House Republicans, the only way to solve this problem is a permanent legislative solution. We remain deeply disappointed and urge them to pass legislation to fix our broken immigration system as soon as possible."


Progress Update: A Critical Time for Reform

Posted by on June 23, 2014.

We’re entering a critical period for reform in the coming weeks, and it’s more important than ever that your elected representatives hear from you on why the time for reform is now.

Just last week, House Republicans elected Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA - 23) the new Majority Leader, and also voted in Representative Steve Scalise from Louisiana’s 1st district to serve as Majority Whip.

Both of these representatives have indicated their support for fixing our fundamentally broken system multiple times; as members of House GOP Leadership, the pressure is on for them - along with Speaker Boehner - to take action and bring reform legislation to a vote as soon as possible, so that we can boost our economy and do right by the millions of American families living in fear of separation.

Poll after poll shows that 3 in 4 Americans of all political beliefs - as well as the majority of Republican primary voters - recognizes that our current system is fundamentally broken, and wants to see it fixed. Respected, influential conservatives like Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson have recently added their voices to the calls for smart, humane immigration reform - because it’s the right thing to do. In fact, Rupert Murdoch - himself an American citizen who came to this country as an immigrant - might have put it best when he said:

If we are serious about advancing our economic future and about creating job growth here in America, then we must realize that it is suicidal to suggest closing our doors to the world's entrepreneurs, or worse, to continue with large-scale deportations…

All the more reason, then, to recognize that the facts are on the side of reform, and democratic societies don't advance when our elected officials act like seat-warmers.

Every single day, our economy loses $38 million dollars; we have an immigration system that is outdated and broken; and there are 11 million undocumented immigrants who lack a pathway to getting with the law and coming out of the shadows - while millions of American families fear separation.

It takes less than a minute to contact your member of Congress to let him or her know that the time is now, and that they must take action on reform legislation.

Let’s make sure Congress knows that we expect them to act on reform.


Poll By 10 Prominent GOP Pollsters Shows Americans Overwhelmingly Support Action On Immigration

Posted by on June 11, 2014.

Today, a group of 10 GOP polling firms - collectively representing the majority of federal elected Republican officeholders – presented two new surveys in a unique project bringing together 10 of the biggest GOP polling firms in the country. The surveys include new data on general election and Hispanic voter attitudes around immigration reform, and clearly demonstrate that Americans overwhelmingly believe America’s immigration system is broken and that Congress must take immediate action to fix it. The surveys overwhelmingly demonstrate that Republicans have a real opportunity to pass immigration reform, and clearly spell out that they can and must do so.


Key takeaways from the new data include the following:

  • Supporting immigration reform is not a liability for Republicans in a primary
  • If Republicans fail to pass immigration reform, the consequences are severe
  • Strong support for reform exists because voters across the political spectrum – including 3 in 4 Tea Party conservatives – do not view current immigration reform proposals as “amnesty”

Pollsters participating in the poll included American Viewpoint’s Linda DiVall and Randy Gutermuth; Basswood Research’s Jon Lerner; GS Strategy Group’s Greg Strimple and Brooks Kochvar; Moore Information’s Hans Kaiser; North Star Opinion Research’s Whit Ayres, Jon McHenry and Dan Judy; The Polling Company’s Kellyanne Conway; Public Opinion Strategies’ Neil Newhouse; The Tarrance Group’s Brian Tringali and BJ Martino; The Winston Group’s David Winston and Myra Miller; and WPA Opinion Research’s Chris Perkins.

The poll shows that Americans support comprehensive immigration reform. After hearing about a reform proposal that would increase border patrol, require employers to verify legal status of employees, create a guest-worker program and establish a pathway for legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, 71 percent of Americans offer their support, with 32 percent strongly supporting the proposal. In fact, Republicans supported the proposal by even higher margins, with 81 percent support and 39 percent strong support.

“This poll validates what we have long believed: Americans of all parties know that we must fix our broken immigration system with a real plan,” said Rob Jesmer, campaign manager of FWD.us. “We join the majority of Americans represented by this poll in calling on Congress to take action immediately and pass reform.”

Support for immigration reform could have a substantive effect at the polls in November. According to the poll, a Republican candidate supporting this immigration proposal increased their margin of support from +7 to +38. That increased support is seen across several important demographics, from Democrats and independents to moderates to independent women to younger voters.

Republican pollster Whit Ayres added, “This is a pattern - Republican candidates who have campaigned strongly on immigration reform have won difficult primaries across the country. The data is clear: strong support for reform provisions exists from voters across the political spectrum."

Among the specific policy issues addressed in the poll, there was broad support across parties for E-Verify and the DREAM Act. Voters polled also rejected deportation as a viable option for fixing our immigration system, supporting instead either “legal status” or “citizenship.” Also, while voters opposed “amnesty,” a majority of those polled, including a majority of Republicans, did not believe the plan discussed could be defined as “amnesty.”

The poll was conducted from May 17-23 and measured 800 national registered voters, 505 national Republican voters, 600 registered voters in Arizona, Florida and Texas and 400 registered voters in California.


Where We Stand

Posted by on June 11, 2014.

Yesterday was an earthquake of a day in DC, and while it poses big challenges it shows more than ever why FWD.us and all of your support is so critical.

Yesterday morning when I got on the train and arrived in DC, people were worried about Senator Lindsey Graham getting to 50% in his primary, and fairly certain House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would sail to victory. That obviously didn’t happen. Leader Cantor had lost and Senator Graham was sailing to an over 55% victory in a crowded field, avoiding a runoff. To put Cantor’s shocking loss in perspective, it's the first time since the 19th century that a House Leader has lost in a primary.

Here’s how we think this is likely to go: over the next few days, you will see a lot of the press saying Eric Cantor’s loss was due to immigration reform. DC groupthink will be in full effect and you’ll see headlines hyping this as a huge blow to our efforts to pass reform. These are the same reporters who have alternatively declared immigration sailing along smoothly and entirely dead many times before.

But immigration is not to blame for Eric Cantor’s loss last night. Even Erick Erickson - the influential conservative blogger who is a strong opponent of immigration reform - tweeted last night “Dear Media: you will make the Cantor loss all about immigration. You will be wrong. But it will be useful to us. So thanks.”

The good news is this - that while we will have some bumpy press, we actually have a fantastic polling presentation today with 10 of the leading pollsters in the Republican party. The timing will be good for pushing back on this false narrative.

These dynamics remain:

  1. Every Republican who has leaned in on immigration reform and explained it to their constituents has won. Handily. Lindsey Graham got 56% in a very conservative, very crowded South Carolina Republican primary. Congresswoman Renee Elmers won in North Carolina easily as well.
  2. There are people on both sides of the aisle working hard to get this done
  3. At the end of the day Speaker Boehner and his Republican conference need to decide to put votes on the floor this year. There is no reason to wait.

But here is what really matters:

Every single day, our economy loses $38 million dollars; we have an immigration system that is outdated and broken; and there are 11 million undocumented immigrants who need a process to get right with law and live their lives as they deserve.

Tagged: news elections

Miami Forum on Immigration Reform

Posted by on June 04, 2014.

FWD.us hosted a forum today in Miami to discuss the positive economic impact of immigration reform in the United States.  The event took place at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus and brought together leaders from the political, business, media and advocacy fields. 

Speakers included Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congressman Mario Diaz Balart; LIBRE Initiative Executive Director Daniel Garza, Univision Radio and PBS Anchor Helen Aguirre Ferré, National Council of La Raza Chair Jorge Plasencia, and FWD.us President and Founder Joe Green.


DEBUG DC: Encourage Congress to take action in a new way

Posted by on May 29, 2014.


We are excited to announce that FWD.us and Hackers/Founders are joining forces to host the "DEBUG DC" Growthathon on June 21st & June 22nd. This is a unique opportunity to push the envelope in online advocacy for immigration reform. With one of the biggest legislative fights in Washington, we have the support of tech leaders in combination with inhouse and volunteer engineers, and a top Washington policy team so we can hear what's working. It’s time to use technology to help fix our nation’s broken and outdated immigration system and encourage Congress to take action.

Our outdated immigration system does not meet America’s workforce needs in a global economy. We have a system that tells talented immigrants that we don't welcome their contributions. It is a system that cannot keep the United States competitive in a global economy. The time is now for Congress to act on meaningful immigration reform that boosts the American economy and does right by American families.

The tech community is made up of founders and employees from all over the world and the tech industry wouldn’t be the same without them. We recognize the value that immigrants bring to this country and we’ll do whatever we can to keep them here.

That’s why we are asking for your help. We’re launching DEBUG DC as a grassroots effort that will mobilize the tech industry to push immigration reform that will help all of us – founders and families.

The DEBUG DC growthathon is similar to a hackathon, but this time, we’ll be hacking political advocacy. We’ll use metrics to measure our progress; with the use of our previous advocacy tools, we created “advocacy points” to help measure impact that supporters of reform are taking, such as contacting members of Congress via tweet, phone call, or a physical letter.

Judges from the tech startup community and immigration reform advocacy groups will assess each team’s work and award points based on political engagement and innovation. Winning teams will be invited back for a final launch event on Friday, June 27.

To participate and help us hack immigration reform at DEBUG DC, please register here.

Let’s show D.C. how technology can help spark real change!

Read on below for a message from Jonathan Nelson, founder of Hackers/Founders, our partner for DEBUG DC.


Let's DEBUG DC so we can finally pass #&$%*&! Immigration Reform

TLDR; The engine of DC is wedged, and we need developers, data scientists, growth hackers and advocacy people to debug our government and get it working again so we can fix immigration for once and for all. Register here.

As many of you know, Hackers/Founders and FWD.us together with a massive coalition of people have gotten together to support comprehensive immigration reform. I’ve heard from some of my friends in DC and the policy world, that they’ve never seen a larger, bipartisan coalition assemble to support passage of legislation:

Trade unions like the AFL/CIO and the US Chamber of Commerce
Tech lobbies and Latino civil rights groups
People who support a startup visa as well as religious organizations who care for refugees

In fact, enough legislators, both Republican and Democrat have said that if it comes to a vote, they will vote in favor of supporting comprehensive immigration reform.

But the tragedy of this is that a few extremist legislators are holding the rest of Congress hostage and threatening to sabotage members of their own party if they bring an immigration reform law to a vote.

The machine of government is wedged, and is in desperate need of debugging.

How do we DEBUG DC?

Step One → Target critical legislative districts
Step Two → Data mine these districts to find registered voters who are registered Republicans who we think are likely to support immigration reform.
Step Three → Growth hack ways to motivate these people to effectively engage their legislators to tell them they want them to call for a vote on immigration reform.
Step Four → Measure results
Step Five → Iterate

To beta test this model, we are holding the first political growthathon ever. We’d love to have you participate. Register here.

We need developers, growth hackers, data scientists, and UI/UX designers.

Developers should:

    • Be fluent in at least one high level programming language
    • Be well versed in building an app on top of APIs
    • Data mining/web scraping skills a big plus
    • Be pissed off about immigration, and want to fix it.

Growth Hackers should:

    • Think creatively about potential voter acquisition channels
    • Be willing to call, email, do SEM, SMM, A/B test, etc.
    • Be crafty and clever
    • Be pissed off about immigration, and want to fix it.

Data Scientists should:

    • Be well versed in statistics and data analysis
    • Think creatively about potential additional voter data sources to mine
    • Think of ways to infer voter sentiment from sparse data
    • Be pissed off about immigration, and want to fix it

UI/UX designers should:

    • Have front end design experience
    • Be well versed in mobile and/or website design
    • Be pissed off about immigration and want to fix it.

Join us: Register here.


Jonathan Nelson is the founder of Hackers/Founders. It was started 6 years ago while Jonathan was working as an ER nurse and finishing his software engineering education online. The first Hackers/Founders event was 4 dudes hanging out in a bar, and has since grown to be the largest community of tech founders in Silicon Valley with 12,000 members. They have 57 chapters in 26 countries giving them a total reach of 100,000 members globally. Jonathan obsesses about hacking the GDP of nations through improving startup ecosystems.

Military DREAMers join House Members
to Call for Immigration Reform This Year

Posted by on May 20, 2014.


Today, military DREAMers - undocumented youth who aspire to serve the United States in uniform but are prohibited from doing so due to their immigration status - joined Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D - IL), Congressman Mike Coffman (R - CO), Congressman Jeff Denham (R - CA), and Congressman Joaquin Castro (D - TX) to call on Congress to bring immigration reform legislation to a vote this year.

The 16 DREAMers from across the country came together to advocate for the opportunity to serve the United States - the country they call home - in uniform, and to advocate for better lives for their families, neighborhoods, and communities. The hardworking DREAMers shared their individual stories and made the case that their service would help strengthen our military, boost our national security, and enhance our military readiness.

“I want to serve my country to show how grateful I am for all it has provided me,” said Jose Patino, a military DREAMer from Arizona. “Please let me show America how grateful I am for all the opportunities this country has given me; let me serve my country."

“To be able to serve the only nation I call home is now is my biggest dream. I know that this is what I was meant to do. I only ask for a chance to prove that I am just as American as anybody else who was born here,” said Alina Cortes, a military DREAMer from Texas.

Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D - IL) said, “With so many youth in our community encouraged to go down the wrong path, we should be helping young men and women who want to go down the right path. Rather than building barriers to their service, we should be incorporating immigrants more fully into our society, nurturing them as future leaders, and helping their families thrive for the good of us all.”

Added Congressman Mike Coffman (R - CO), “I have a combined 21 years of military service between the Army, the Army Reserve, the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve, and I believe that the young people who were brought by their parents to this country as children, who grew up here, who went to school here, and who know of no other country besides the United States should have the opportunity to serve this country in the Armed Forces and to earn a path to citizenship from their service.”

“The inspirational young people gathered here today hope to perform the ultimate act of patriotism. Their devotion to our great nation – the only one they call home – is clear, and they should be allowed to serve and earn legal status through their sacrifice,” said Congressman Jeff Denham (R - CA).

“The Deferred Action policy has allowed many young DREAMers to live, study, and work in this country without the fear of deportation. However, we must ensure that the doors of opportunity are not closed to them as they strive to get ahead,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio). “As Congress works on comprehensive immigration reform, I’m proud to introduce an amendment to the Defense bill to allow these young people to have the opportunity to apply to our military service academies and eventually serve as leaders in the only country they have ever known. I’m hopeful that expanding opportunities to all of our students, especially those who would sacrifice to protect our freedoms, is a cause championed by all my colleagues.”


Clear Sign Voters are Ready for Immigration Reform

Posted by on May 06, 2014.

I want to congratulate Congresswoman Renee Ellmers on her resounding victory tonight. Despite being attacked by those opposed to commonsense immigration reform, Congresswoman Ellmers consistently articulated a solution to fix our broken immigration system, and tonight her constituents made clear their support for her leadership by overwhelmingly voting for her over her anti-immigrant primary opponent.

Poll after poll has demonstrated GOP support for a commonsense immigration solution that secures the border, ensures the best and the brightest can come here to grow companies and create American jobs, and once and for all provides an earned pathway to citizenship for the undocumented already contributing to our economy and our communities.

Congresswoman Ellmers’ commanding primary victory makes clear: the time is now for House Republicans to bring immigration reform legislation to a vote.

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