The Silicon Valley Leadership Group led 20 CEOs and senior officers to Washington, D.C. last week for three full days of advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform. The numbers only tell part of the story: 58 one-on-one visits with key members of the House of Representatives, including 33 Republicans who we believe are open to meaningful reform.
What made the visit unique – what continues to make our efforts unique – is the power of partnerships, often rather unlikely alliances, to advance our goal.
And I’m now optimistic that Congress will pass meaningful immigration reform.
- The Leadership Group has focused in four strategic ways to “punch above our weight” at the national level. Each was underscored last week:Linking with national allies: The Leadership Group – as a regional organization – partnered with several well-respected national business association leaders. These include the Consumer Electronics Association, Business Roundtable, FWD.us, Information Technology Industry Council, Semiconductor Industry Association, Tech America, TechNet and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We are much more powerful together than we could ever be operating individually.
- Combining efforts regionally: Our National Metro Business Alliance, consisting of 20 similar regional business associations, each have deep and long-term relationships with their own members of Congress. While in D.C., our partners with the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce arranged a luncheon with their bi-partisan delegation to Congress.
- The power of unlikely alliances: For the Leadership Group, immigration reform is about workers needed across the spectrum – be they high-tech, low-tech or no-tech – to fuel America’s innovation economy. That is why we are partnering with employers of all types. Our meetings in D.C. included partnerships with the California Strawberry Commission as well as the non-profit “Bibles, Badges and Businesses,” unlikely alliances that sent a powerful message around the Capitol and beyond.
- Unprecedented member engagement: The Leadership Group is owned and driven by nearly 400 member company CEOs from global brands to novel start-ups. Our members are in all 50 states and almost all 435 congressional districts. For the past four months, we have painstakingly mapped every state and every congressional district where our member companies have facilities and employees. During the next seven weeks, while Congress is in recess, we are asking our members to engage directly in those districts. We will continue this outreach throughout the fall.
It is amazing what we can accomplish when we work together, for the common good, to advance what we know is for the country’s good. It is why I am optimistic that Congress will pass meaningful immigration reform.