INFLUENCE GAME: Tech, labor spar on immigration

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By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — To the tech industry, there aren't enough Americans skilled in information technology. To unions, it's more sinister. They say titans in the technology sector like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg want to expand the U.S. visa program for high-tech foreign workers to dilute a lucrative job market with cheap, indentured labor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to take up the part of the immigration reform bill that would nearly double the number of H-1B visas allowed each year — from the current 65,000 to 110,000. The number could climb as high as 180,000, depending on the number of applicants received and the unemployment rate.

Industry says the figure represents a fraction of the 6 million computer-related jobs in the U.S. But labor groups say the plan could distort the market.

An occasional look at how behind-the-scenes influence is exercised in Washington.

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