WASHINGTON — High-tech leaders including the former heads of AOL and Mozilla are organizing a “virtual march for immigration reform” aimed at pressuring lawmakers to enact sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration laws.
The effort unveiled Monday is particularly focused on making it easier for the U.S. to attract highly educated immigrants and those aiming to work in high-tech fields.
Silicon Valley leaders and others have long complained of the difficulties of bringing high-tech workers to the U.S. and allowing them to stay once they’re here, and immigration legislation taking shape on Capitol Hill is expected to address the issue.
The new effort, backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy, aims to collect supporters and organize a date this spring for them to flood lawmakers’ offices via Twitter, Facebook and other means.
“What we’re essentially doing is having tech leaders use technology to influence the debate,” said John Feinblatt, Bloomberg’s chief policy adviser. “In the in the old days, people used to hire a lobbyist.”
The new effort brings together an array of high-tech heavy hitters including Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and chief executive of Revolution; John Lilly, former chief executive of Mozilla and partner at Greylock Partners; venture capitalist Mike Maples; and Brad Feld, managing director of the Foundry Group.