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Execs from Apple, other tech firms to talk immigration and government modernization at White House meeting

Immigration policies, government services modernization and integration with cutting edge Silicon Valley initiatives like machine learning are on the docket for next month's meeting of President Donald Trump's American Technology Council, according to a report.


Candid photo from President Donald Trump's tech summit in December. | Source: Quartz


On Friday, Recode obtained a copy of the agenda for June's inaugural American Technology Council gathering, which is expected to be attended by top executives from major U.S. tech companies, including Apple.

A long list of issues will be up for debate at the upcoming session. Matters of discussion range from thinking of ways to bring the government's "citizen services" online to more complex political policy like managing high-skilled immigration.

Immigration is of particular importance to Silicon Valley, as many tech industry employees hold work visas and dual citizenships. Earlier this year, Trump attempted to pass an immigration ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, a move decried by companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and more.

In April, Trump signed an executive order designed to clamp down on H-1B visa program which, as noted in the report, is popular with tech companies. While the order brings the program under formal review, the White House seems open to input from firms affected by the policy. At the June meeting, officials will ask for feedback on ways to "ensure that [H-1B visas] are issued to the highest skilled and highest paid workers."

As for "citizen services," the Trump administration believes "the American people should be able to interact with the government the way that they do with the best private-sector companies — through intuitive digital experiences that effectively solve problems." Tech company bigwigs are expected to offer feedback and recommendations to make government services "more intuitive, user-friendly and effective."

Along with a revamp of digital assets, the White House is also investigating reforms related to hardware and software purchasing. Apple is not considered a major supplier to government entities, though products like iPhone and iPad are in use at select agencies.

Additionally, attendees will discuss ways to apply tech industry advances like machine learning to combating government waste and fraud. Other issues include analytics for federal agency data tracking and a type of "exchange" program that would allow tech company employees to work stints at various government offices, the report said.

The American Technology Council meeting was officially announced earlier this month. Rolled under the Office of American Innovation, a working group headed by Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, the council includes top-ranking executives from elite technology sector brands including Apple, Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft.

Who Apple will send to the forthcoming gathering is unclear, though Tim Cook is a likely nominee, as the chief executive previously attended Trump's tech summit alongside industry colleagues in December.