Hand Outstretched, House Chair Goodlatte Enters Enemy Territory

Published on March 21st, 2014

On March 18, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte was 2,500 miles away from his Washington D.C. office and the Roanoke, Virginia district he’s represented since 1993.

The once-conservative enforcement-first Republican, who his constituents have repeatedly re-elected on that platform, traveled to Silicon Valley to attend a fundraiser hosted by Safra Catz, Oracle’s president and chief financial officer. Catz’s net income last year was $51 million.

Catz, Zuckerberg (net worth, $28.5 billion) and the rest of the Silicon Valley moguls are among the leading advocates for immigration reform, specifically that part of the legislation which would greatly increase or, ideally, eliminate the H-1B visa cap. For 2015, the cap is set at 65,000, with an additional 20,000 visas available for foreign nationals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher.

Like the rest of his money-hungry, we’ll-follow-the-money-anywhere congressional colleagues, Goodlatte will take his donations from whoever has a pen and a checkbook handy. American workers’ livelihoods don’t factor into his equation. At the Catz gala, held at her Los Altos mansion (see it here), the recommended contributions ranged from $10,000 to $40,000 per person.

Many attendees, however, balked, saying that any gift would be contingent on Goodlatte moving an immigration bill out of the Judiciary Committee and onto the floor for a quick vote. One prospective donor, venture capitalist Ron Conway, refused to commit unless Goodlatte played ball.

Said Conway, “Before I write my check, I wanted some assurances that Bob Goodlatte would be prepared to discuss immigration reform and what the timetable is for immigration reform, because we’re coming down the wire here with the [midterm] elections [approaching] and we need accountability.”

Goodlatte, an immigration lawyer, and other GOP leaders have consistently ignored a literal mountain of evidence published by the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston and San Francisco, the Economic Policy Institute, The Atlantic and The New York Times, among others, that no tech labor shortage exists, preferring instead to cave in to the cheap labor lobby. From the Times: “We’re Silicon Valley people, we just assumed the shortage [of H-1Bs] was true.”

If there’s anything encouraging to take away from Goodlatte’s cross-country fundraising voyage, it may be the implication that his primary opponent, Paul Bevington, could pose a more serious threat than he first anticipated. In Goodlatte’s 12 election cycles, this is only the second time he’s had a primary challenger.

Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to remind your Republican representatives like Goodlatte that amnesty is bad for all Americans.

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