We Have Results!
National Online Dialogue on
with the Technology Community
in collaboration with
The Knight Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
The Miami Foundation
What happens when thousands of technology community members participate in a collective intelligence process to provide their insights into immigration policy? Can a controlled experiment show what would happen if technology community members spent a full day deliberating about immigration reform on the basis of balanced information? How would their attitudes about immigrants and immigration policy change after a day-long of informed dialogue about policy alternatives?
Seven experts on immigration policy were consulted over a nine-month period to develop briefing materials. More than two thousand technology community members examined the materials online and posted over 400 comments at specific points in the text. This line-by-line feedback led to more than 70 revisions. At that point, a sample of the tech community members was recruited participate in the controlled experiment. Incentives included the chance to win one of 30 tickets to a major TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, London or New York, in addition to a small cash honorarium. Individuals in the panel were randomly assigned to be in either (a) the treatment group that received the vetted briefing materials and had a day of moderated online small-group discussion, or (b) the control group. There were 87 were people in the treatment group and194 in the control group.
Control groups were given a traditional survey twice over the period of a few months. Treatment groups were given these same surveys at the beginning. After taking the surveys, the treatment group also received 44 pages of briefing materials two days before the deliberations. They dialogued via moderated group video chats with fellow members of the tech community in small groups and have their group’s questions answered by experts (along with the questions from other groups) at a live forum. The experts include prominent authorities on immigration law and immigration public policy, listed below.
The results of the process show that tech community members became more compassionate and more sophisticated on the impact of immigrants on the American culture in the course of one day of informed dialogue about immigration policies and immigration reform. There was a large jump (18%) in support for finding a path to citizenship for DREAMers, and there was a sizeable jump (16%) in those who believed that having close family in the US should be important in issuing working visas. In addition, there was a 17% decrease in those who believed that immigrants threaten the nation’s culture (as well as a 6% increase in those who believed immigrants had a lot to offer to the cultural life of the US): There was a jump from 60% to 78% in finding a path to citizenship for DREAMers. Support for “Having close family in the US should be important in issuing work visas” moved from 51.8% to 67.9%.On a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means that immigrants have a lot to offer to the US’s cultural life, 10 means that immigrants threaten the US’s culture, and 5 is exactly in the middle? 0-4 changed from 61.9 to 67.9; 5 changed from 10.7 to 11.9; 6-10 changed from 37.4 to 20.2.
After deliberation, participants were significantly more in favor of allowing a larger number of people to immigrate–but with more safeguards to ensure that the immigration system was not abused by any given company overusing the H1B process, and that H1B workers should have pay requirements increased to the median wage in a region by occupation. Technology community members after deliberation came out in favor of increasing access to citizenship for parents of US citizens and job skills get prioritized in future immigration policies.
“Deliberation Could Fix Tech Immigration’s Problems” via TechCrunch
“Share Your Ideas About Immigration” via TechCrunch
“Reframe It project seeks input of tech community on immigration policy” via Knight Foundation
Press Release via TechCrunch