Conventions Come to a Close, But the Discussion Continues

Posted on September 8, 2012 by Have A Voice Team

These past two weeks, ACIP’s Lynn Shotwell and Rebecca Peters have had the opportunity to attend both the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL and Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC thanks to our new affiliation with SHRM. This opportunity has not only been an amazing political experience, but it has been beneficial to ACIP and its members – giving us access to the inside scoop as the parties head into election season, as well as providing us yet another venue to talk to Members of Congress, administrative officials, media contacts and both ACIP and SHRM members in attendance. ACIP’s message on the need to reform our high-skilled immigration system to grow jobs and create a healthy economy was the topic of many one-on-one discussions. We also had the chance to share our opinions on each party’s position on immigration through on-the-ground interviews. Check those videos out here and here.

While fixing the economy reigned supreme as the top issue at both conventions, each party did link high-skilled immigration as an important part of fixing the economy. In both the Republican and Democratic platforms, themost visible tie to the economy came through support for “stapling” a green card to the diplomas of advanced STEM graduates to retain those we educate in our first-class universities – a solution ACIP has been advocating for nearly a decade! In the Democratic platform, we also saw a tie to the economy through support for entrepreneurial start-up visas. Read the Republican platform here and the Democratic platform here.
Though immigration is not likely to be the most discussed issue leading up to the election in November, it will play a role – especially for Democrats, who are working very hard to secure the Latino vote. It is likely President Obama will continue to talk often about the new DREAMer policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Republicans are more likely heading into the election to focus their attention on support for a mandatory E-Verify system to authorize new workers. Both parties are just as likely to emphasize the benefits of high-skilled STEM advanced degree graduates to growing our economy, as evidenced by their platforms.
One important thing to keep in mind about the presidential candidates is who will be advising them on immigration in the coming months. In the President’s corner will be Cecilia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, who would also likely continue to be his point on immigration should he win a second term. Rebecca Peters had a chance to catch up with Cecilia at the convention just long enough to let her know ACIP will be hosting a webinar this September to educate ACIP members on the President’s new DACA policy (details TBD). On team Romney, John Bailey, a former member of George W. Bush’s Domestic Policy Council and former deputy policy director at the Commerce Department, is a key immigration adviser. An ACIP contact from past administrations, we will be certain to catch up with him in the months to come. These counselors will be people to watch as the campaign season continues.
We’re signing off for the final time from Convention HQ, but to view all of ACIP and SHRM’s tweets, blogs, pictures and videos from both conventions, please visit

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