Day of Action: Our #Freedom2Innovate Kickoff

Posted by Todd Schulte on 03/02/2015

Today, FWD.us is holding a #Freedom2Innovate Day of Action – it’s the start of a month long campaign to highlight the incredible costs that come from failing to fix our broken immigration system, and to highlight the incredible potential our country has if we can reform our immigration laws. Starting today, we’ll be working with a broad coalition of individuals who would benefit from immigration reform, with elected officials from both parties from across the country, and with the tech community to show that reform can’t wait. We’re using April 1st as a backstop – the day where so many high-skilled immigrants will find out if they will, or will not, be able to stay in this country and create jobs.

The dialogue in D.C. is filled with noise on immigration – what we’re doing in the next month is boiling this down to the consensus. Past the arguing, we agree the status quo is broken and we need reforms to help our economy grow and provide the ability for 11 million undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and contribute fully.

Here are three reasons why we’re asking you to join our #Freedom2Innovate Day of Action today:

First – 3 in 4 Americans (including 2 in 3 Republicans) support immigration reform, but for us to be successful we need to highlight the urgency and increase the intensity of our work. While April 1st isn’t a determinative day for all, it is for many and we’re asking each and every one of you to help drive home the urgent need to fix our broken immigration system over the next month.

Second – We’ll create urgency by showing the cost of inaction and the benefits of reform. Today, we’ll be highlighting individual stories of entrepreneurs who want to grow their companies here and create American jobs – both online and on calls with the press. We know the power of stories, and we believe in the power of technology to harness and amplify these stories.

Third — We’re organizing our efforts around policy points where we can make a difference through legislation and executive action, while continuing to work towards a permanent legislative solution that fixes our fundamentally broken system so that it works for our economy.”

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That we are a nation of immigrants has been, and always should be, a source of incredible strength and dynamism. The very nature of immigration – the entrepreneurialism that leads people to leave so much behind and come to our nation – has long been one of our country’s greatest competitive advantages. Yet today we no longer have an immigration system that reflects our values, and the price we pay is severe: we educate the best and brightest only to tell them there is no place for them to create jobs here, millions of families live in fear of being torn apart by deportation, and $37 million dollars are lost every day we fail to pass reform.

The stakes couldn’t be higher – so today, please help us renew our push to win.

Call your member of Congress now.

Creating Entrepreneur Pathways: Making Sure the White House Hears from the Tech Community

Posted on 02/26/2015

FWD.us has been working hard to make sure that the White House hears from you: last November, President Obama promised to take action that will make it easier for high-skilled immigrants and entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses here in the U.S., boosting our economy and creating American jobs. As part of the Entrepreneur Pathways Program, we’ve been collecting suggestions from members of the tech community to help ensure that these proposed programs are rolled out in a way that truly meets the tech community’s needs.

We’ve hosted calls and roundtables with members of the tech community, and received meaningful feedback from entrepreneurs across the country. We’ll be sending these suggestions in to policymakers at the White House in just a few days, and we want to make sure as many members of the tech community as possible can help create solutions by passing along valuable ideas and insight.

What Happens Next?

Once recommendations are submitted, the White House will compile the suggestions and release their policy proposal for a period of public comment, where members of the tech community will have another chance to weigh in. We’ll make sure to keep you posted as that key piece of the Entrepreneur Pathways Program moves forward.

We hope you’ll take this opportunity to share your experiences and recommendations with White House policymakers. While FWD.us continues working to pass a permanent legislative solution that will finally fix our broken immigration system, the tech community has a key role to play in helping to craft policy solutions that will make it easier for entrepreneurs to do what they do best – create jobs, grow our economy, and innovate.

Want to get more involved in political advocacy? Join your FWD.us chapter.

 

Immigration action will boost Florida's economy

Posted by Lucas Waldron on 02/25/2015

Diego Garcia came to Miami when he was 11 years old. His family received E-1 visas, which provide legal status for five years. When Diego was a teenager, he wasn’t able to renew his visa and was days away from becoming undocumented. Despite his immigration status, Diego fought to be able to attend University of Florida, and later graduated with a degree in nuclear engineering. He wants to stay in America – the country he calls home – but his future is uncertain because of our broken immigration system. Diego’s story is just one of thousands in Florida, and across the United States.

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Immigration has had a huge impact on Florida’s culture and economy. Florida’s labor force is almost 25% foreign-born, and nearly 30% of Florida business owners are immigrants. With such a large immigrant population, Florida will gain a powerful economic boost from President Obama’s executive actions on immigration reform. By 2025, the new programs created by executive immigration action will increase Florida’s GDP by $4.3 billion to $10 billion.

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253,000 people are eligible for the expansion of DACA and creation of DAPA in Florida, gaining the opportunity to apply for work permits and live without fear of deportation and separation from their families. We know that these programs are the right choice for America’s – and Florida’s – families and economy.

“I love energy policy, it’s what drives me,” explained Diego, who hopes immigration action will allow him to secure a more permanent immigration status. “I love this country. I feel American.”

Click here to find out where your Representative stands on immigration. 

 

Days Before DHS Shutdown, Sen. Durbin Stresses the Importance of DACA

Posted by Gillis Bernard on 02/24/2015

Only a few days remain until the Department of Homeland Security will run out of funding. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats continued to push back against a bill that halts the DHS shutdown, but blocks President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform. Among those opposing the bill, which cleared the Republican-led House in late January, is Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Durbin spoke to the Senate Tuesday about the positive impact policies included in President Obama’s executive actions, like the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), could have on the U.S. economy and the lives of millions of immigrants living in the U.S.

“I’m lucky,” said Durbin, “My mother was an immigrant in this country and I stand on the Senate floor representing the great state of Illinois. It’s my story, it’s my family’s story, it’s America’s story.”

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If passed, the immigration amendments attached to the January bill would bar any federal funds from being funneled into President Obama’s executive action programs. The bill also threatens to cut all support for DACA, which has already helped over 600,000 young people to come out of the shadows and live without fear of deportation.

Watch Senator Durbin’s speech on the Senate floor:

“It doesn’t make sense for us to put in jeopardy the security of America over a political debate on immigration,” said Durbin.

Durbin shared the story of Jirayut New Latthivongskorn, one of the 600,000 DREAMers protected by President Obama’s DACA program. Latthivongskorn came with his family to the United States from Thailand at age nine. He dedicated himself to learning the English language and his schoolwork, while simultaneously working 30 hours a week at his family’s restaurant. During his senior year, Latthivongskorn was admitted to and received a generous scholarship from the University of California at Berkeley – one that, due to his undocumented status, he was unable to accept. Despite the obstacles, he graduated from Berkeley with honors in molecular and cellular biology, and started medical school this fall at the University of California at San Francisco.

“Let us fund [the Department of Homeland Security] to keep America safe. But let us also dedicate ourselves to passing legislation which fixes our immigration system and helps [DREAMers] become part of America’s future,” said Durbin.

In lieu of the bill, Congressional Democrats are pushing for a short-term alternative. The “clean bill” would provide the Department of Homeland Security with enough  funds to operate through the fiscal year and keep intact the programs outlined in November’s executive actions.

Want to advocate for immigration reform in your city? Join your FWD.us chapter now.