As Verizon continues to eek out new territory as a leading provider of cutting edge technologies and innovative products and services, it is adding “immigration reform advocacy” to its list of notable efforts currently underway. In a recent open letter published on LinkedIn, Verizon’s Chief Executive, Lowell McAdam establishes the company’s case for progressive immigration reform. Verizon’s customers, and significant portions of its workforce, comprise of largely diverse audiences, and the company, in serving their interests, thinks comprehensive immigration reform is key to national prosperity and global competitiveness.
“To be a technology leader in today’s hyper-competitive ecosystem, we need great people with the technical skills to power our future,” he said. “Yet America is in danger of falling behind our global competitors when it comes to developing technical talent. As an example, I just returned from China, where they are graduating 2 million engineers a year, compared to about 240,000 in America.”
McAdam continued, “I believe the key to bridging that talent gap is bringing more women and diverse populations into technical fields.”
“We need all our players on the field if we’re going to compete and win in the digital economy,” he said. “Diversity will be critical to our success in every field in which America wishes to be competitive.”
Diversity is a cornerstone of Verizon’s operations, especially considering its footprint in 150 countries and that almost 60% of its 160,000 person workforce consists of women and people of color. “Diverse points of view are crucial to our ability to innovate, grow and serve our customers and we do our best to encourage constructive debate,” McAdam contended. “As a technology company, we value our immigrant employees as an important source of talent, particularly in the engineering, scientific and technical fields that are key to our competitiveness. We have pledged to them, and all employees affected by U.S. immigration policies, that we will help resolve any questions and concerns they may have as to their personal circumstances and status.”
Noting that “immigrants have always played a central role in the story of America as inventors, entrepreneurs and builders,” McAdam recalled a letter her wrote to Senate leaders in 2013 in which he stated “comprehensive reform of our immigration system would remove a drag on our economy and allow American businesses to compete in the global market for scientific and technical talent. This can and should be an issue that attracts bipartisan support.”
McAdam’s open letter makes a powerful statement, particularly in the midst of recent federal court reversals of attempts by the Trump Administration to drastically alter immigration policy and practice in the U.S. While it is yet unclear what comprehensive immigration reform will look like in the years ahead, if companies like Verizon, Apple, Google, and others continue to wade into the battle for greater diversity and inclusion, as they have in recent weeks, we can be assured America’s immigration policy will have strong advocates going forward.