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Immigration Reform Languishes in Congress Amid Distractions

With all the kerfuffle around Syria, the efforts to kill the health care law known as "Obamacare," the partial government shutdown, and the debate over the looming possible refusal to raise the debt ceiling and economic crisis that could produce, immigration reform legislation lags in Congress. Progress has been stymied in the House of Representatives following statements from some House members that they would prefer a piecemeal approach and others saying they want comprehensive reform. Chances for progress in the near future seem dim.

Not everyone is pessimistic. Some technology insiders are still pushing and hoping for progress on the high-skilled worker front at least. Scott Corley, Compete America's executive director, said, "We're not going to accept the crisis excuse. There is always a crisis. Immigration is a crisis. Being in Congress you have to walk, chew gum, juggle knives and jump through hoops on fire all at once. That's the job." And Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, a self-described "optimist," recently visited Capitol Hill to advocate in favor of legislation to increase the number of high-skilled workers, noting that "addressing the 11 million undocumented folks is a lot bigger problem than high-skilled workers." Google and Microsoft have previously weighed in, advocating in favor of addressing high-skilled worker shortages in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through legislation. Dan Turrentine, TechNet's vice president of government relations, asserted, "We respect the process to do as [Congress sees] fit, but we absolutely think it can get done this year."

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