Durbin warns Republicans standalone H-1B hike plan will fail

Durbin warns Republicans standalone H-1B hike plan will fail

H-1B increase can't happen without comprehensive immigration reform, Durbin tells tech CEOs

A push by the high-tech industry to support a stand-alone H-1B increase is drawing the ire of U.S. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

In a letter to the CEOs of Accenture, Amazon, Cisco, Deloitte, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle, Durbin said an H-1B cap increase can only come as part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Although the letter is addressed to execs at tech firms, the real message is for House Republicans.

Durbin's letter, released Wednesday, is a response to concerns from comprehensive immigration reform proponents that House Republicans, at the urging of the tech lobby, may try to push a standalone H-1B hike.

In June last year, the Senate approved a comprehensive immigration bill, 68 to 32, that raises the base 65,000 H-1B cap to 115,000. The bill also includes an escalator that can raise it to 180,000. The visa limit for advanced degree graduates of U.S. universities would rise from 20,000 to 25,000 and be restricted to STEM grads.

On the same day the Senate took its final vote on immigration reform, the House Judiciary Committee approved a standalone H-1B bill, the Skills Visa Act by 20-14, which would raise the base H-1B cap to 155,000, and the advanced degree cap to 40,000.

The Skills bill was approved without Democratic support, and the ability of the Republicans to get standalone legislation approved in the full House is in doubt. But even if Republicans succeed in getting something passed, Durbin, who as Senate majority whip occupies the number two leadership spot, is telling them that such a bill would go nowhere in the Senate.

Compete America, a major industry lobby group on immigration, earlier this month sent out a statement urging the House to approve the Skills bill. That statement seems to have surprised Durbin.

"It was my understanding that high tech was committed to supporting [comprehensive immigration reform] because the industry's top priorities are addressed in our legislation," wrote Durbin in his letter.

"I am troubled by recent statements suggesting that some in the technology industry may shift their focus to passage of stand-alone legislation that would only resolve the industry's concerns. This 'divide and conquer' approach destroys the delicate political balance achieved in our bipartisan bill and calls into question the good faith of those who would sacrifice millions of lives for H-1B relief," Durbin added.

Comprehensive immigration reform proponents have long believed that their path to success means linking an H-1B increase to the legalization of millions of undocumented people.

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His e-mail address is

See more by Patrick Thibodeau on

Read more about gov't legislation/regulation in Computerworld's Gov't Legislation/Regulation Topic Center.

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentIT careersIT industryMicrosoftregulationOracleGoogleFacebookintelIBMaccentureDeloittevisaGov't LegislationGov't Legislation/RegulationSena



The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments