It is still not clear if the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States will be rewarded with amnesty later this year, but the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill that would grant them that amnesty has already provided Washington lobbyists on K Street with their big payday.
At least 55 new lobbyists have been hired by clients to influence the Shcumer-Rubio bill already this year, according to a new Sunlight Foundation report. That is up from just 42 new immigration lobbyists hired over all of last year. The number of companies employing lobbyists on immigration is also up sharply, from 317 in 2011 to 354 today.
Firms seeking cheap high-tech workers are leading the lobbying surge, with 37 organizations listing visas for highly skilled workers as their main area of work. But even that number is probably too low since many high-tech companies, like Samsung, just listed “company related immigration issues” as the issue they are lobbying on.
Sunlight’s Keenan Steiner writes:
The tech sector has already gotten its way, with the proposed legislation including an expanded number of H-1B visas, a visa program for entrepreneurs, and an easier pathway for foreign science and math graduates to get green cards. But Tuesday, the tech sector did even better with the Judiciary panel approved a series of pro-industry amendments sponsored by its ally Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, whose vote was coveted. His amendments ease regulations on companies who want to hire workers under the H-1B program, overriding the original bill that included stricter requirements for a company to prove it attempted to hire a U.S. worker before a foreigner.
Hatch was the only Republican not already a member of the pro-amnesty Gang of Eight immigration group to vote for Schumer-Rubio in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It appears that the business communities money spent on K Street has been well spent.