OneAmerica enters new territory by reaching out to employees in Washington’s high tech industry. The Microsoft/High-Tech Community Group is a grass-roots activist group in Seattle/Eastside started by Microsoft employees from India, Mexico, China, the United States and other countries. It meets regularly on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington.
Immigrant software engineers are critical to Microsoft’s innovation and growth. However, many of Microsoft’s immigrant employees are frustrated with the broken immigration system. As they wait 10-15 years for the hope of a Green Card, they are forced to live a life of uncertainty, not knowing if they will have to leave at a moment’s notice. During this time, they are not allowed to take a promotion, change jobs or start a company, frustrating the careers of some of America’s brightest talent. Moreover, many of their spouses, also highly educated, are not allowed to work in the U.S., causing tension in their marriages and lives.
Below is a video of OneAmerica Executive Director, Pramila Jayapal, when she visited Microsoft on October 5, 2010. It's an edited version of her call to action for Microsoft employees to join us in working for comprehensive immigration reform.
1,000 Microsoft immigrant employees signed letter to Members of Congress: Microsoft immigrant employees realized the only way to improve their lives is to highlight their cause and lobby for change. In March, 2010, 1,000 Microsoft immigrant employees signed a letter urging Sen. Cantwell, Sen. Murray, Rep. Inslee and Rep. Reichert to push for immigration reform. Read the letter
Microsoft immigrant employees met with Members of Congress: In March, April, and August, 2010, a group of ten Microsoft immigrant employees met with the staff of Sen. Cantwell, Sen. Murray and Rep. Inslee on behalf of the 1,000 Microsoft employees. They presented the above letter, shared their personal stories, and made the case for immigration reform. See their powerpoint presentation
Met with Rep. Reichert: In August, 2010, Microsoft, Google, and other local high-tech immigrant employees met with Rep. Reichert in person to discuss how he could help push for immigration reform.
Microsoft spoke at April 10 Immigration Reform Rally in Seattle: Microsoft immigrant employee Naresh Moletti, from India, spoke on behalf of Microsoft employees to an audience of 10,000 at the April 10 Immigration Reform Rally in Seattle.
Soon after immigrant employees at Microsoft organized around these issues:
- Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Murray wrote letters urging President Obama to act on immigration reform,
- President Obama met with immigration reform leaders about next steps and he made a major speech about immigration reform in July 2010,
- Rep. Reichert has showed an interest in working together with the Microsoft/High-tech Community Group to push for immigration reform. A follow-up meeting with Rep. Reichert will be scheduled at Microsoft.
MAKE SOME NOISE
After a meeting with immigration reform leaders, President Obama told them, “now go and make me do it.” To advocate for change in the U.S. Congress, high-tech immigrants will need to make “some noise” and become active in the national and local arena to highlight their cause. Their voice will need to be louder than the anti-immigrant voice. If high-tech immigrants don’t get orgaznied and make some noise, nothing will happen!
Join the Microsoft/High-Tech Community Group in Redmond/Eastside and help highlight the case for immigration reform. All employees of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Expedia and other high-tech companies in the Seattle/Eastside region are welcome.
For more information contact:
Jennifer Juo, High-Tech Community Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you work with Microsoft, join the internal social group listed as “Microsoft Immigration Reform Group”
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