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 (www.MarchForInnovation.com) 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.
"If America wants to remain competitive in the global marketplace, we need to fix our broken immigration system to attract the world's top talent. There is a broad consensus on this issue – it's up to Washington to act. I am proud to join with the Partnership for a New American Economy to push for meaningful reform that will help drive innovation," said Brad Feld, Managing Director of the Foundry Group.
"Whether it's a major American corporation or a local neighborhood shop, immigrants are now twice as likely to start a new business in the United States. Our country will only benefit from the addition of these job-creators to help stimulate more growth, which is why we need to make sure our doors are open to those who can help keep our economy strong," said venture capitalist Mike Maples.
"Of late, the United States has been turning away many of the innovators and entrepreneurs who are likely to propel us to new economic heights. We can no longer afford to operate under a system that has not seen major reform over the past few decades. Tech leaders and workers throughout the nation are coming together to rally around the need for significant change to our current immigration system. Our country's leaders must follow suit," said March for Innovation Co-Chair Somesh Dash of Institutional Venture Partners.
"Through the power of social media, the March for Innovation will push Washington to modernize our dated immigration laws and power our innovation economy. Until our leaders act, we'll continue to lose the critical talent and ideas that have helped our nation flourish for years," said March for Innovation Co-Chair and Co-Founder of Nationbuilder Joe Green.
About the Partnership for a New American Economy
The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support sensible immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnership's members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech, and Media to Manufacturing. Partnership members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse, and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.