The immigration and entrepreneurship conundrum

Here is a recent article that discusses the push for changes to immigration law, to allow more immigrants with high-tech skills to stay and start companies.  But the article alludes to one of the bigger policy challenges: the “high-tech immigrant” issue is being folded in with other issues, such as “amnesty” for the 12M (approximate) immigrants already here without having gone through the legal process, and the related question of what is proper administration of the country’s borders.

Is the “high tech immigrant” issue being “held hostage” by the machinations of D.C.?  Should these issues be decided together?  Separately?  What are the pros and cons of each approach, in your view?  What factors do you think lawmakers are considering in this debate?  What factors do you think they should be considering?

3 thoughts on “The immigration and entrepreneurship conundrum

  1. After reading the article, I couldn’t help but thinking of immigration favoritism; both favoritism of highly-skilled immigrants over immigrant laborers as well as favoring potentially cheaper immigrants over domestic technical workers who may demand a higher salary for their part in beginning a start-up venture. Since federal and state governments pursuing legal pathways for illegal undocumented immigrants and the DREAM Act has received more media attention lately, many Americans do not associate immigrants with potentially being highly-skilled, highly-educated immigrants who may be cornerstones of start-up entrepreneurial businesses. Although I was obviously uninformed, I was surprised to learn that skilled-workers have their own kind of visa (H-1B). While many Americans may worry that such immigrants will take away jobs from qualified American applicants, the other end of the coin is that skilled immigrants may assist start-ups to the greatest extent based on their credentials and experience. Allowing a brand new venture to hire the perfect web site designer or program, regardless of national origin, should be the focus for our immigration laws, so that successful companies can grow and flourish from the very beginning.

  2. This article seems to be closely aligned with the previous blog topic of the government picking winners. If Visa’s are given out based on this certain ability to fulfill a need in the economy it seems that the government would be choosing this sector as more worthy than others. As Kim Berry stated in the article this may simply be giving companies an unfair advantage who do not want to pay full salaries.

  3. I agree with some of Dan’s comments. I too believe that this is another case of the government picking winners and losers. This situation is strikingly similar to the current financial crisis. After the economy fell apart in the fall of 2008, the federal government legislated the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). With this legislation, the government bought large percentages shares of the largest banks in America, which gave the federal government strong influence over the business of these banks. The government essentially had a horse in the race. It was no longer disinterested. The government bailed out banks that it deemed “too big to fail.” On the other hand, the federal government didn’t bail out everyday, ordinary Americans. Sure, the government passed the stimulus package, but that didn’t come close to what the government spent on TARP. I use this example to show why awarding certain privileges to the so-called “high tech immigrant” over the “laboring immigrant” (the 12 million immigrants the article discusses) is playing the same kind of favoritism that the federal government used when it passed TARP. TARP is very controversial, and it is still gaining criticism from many commentators, politicians, and the general public. To satisfy notions of fairness, the “high-tech immigrant” issue, the issue of the “amnesty” for the 12M (approximate) immigrants already here without having gone through the legal process, and the related issue of what is proper administration of the country’s borders must all be decided together. Unlike TARP, Congress must legislate these issues together to demonstrate that it is not picking winners and losers like it has many times before.