A top Obama administration official said the president remains committed to immigration reform and called the current practice of forcing immigrant entrepreneurs educated at top American universities to set up shop in other countries a “broken system.”
“He’s spoken of the fact that people all over the world come here to become educated, and then after we have educated them, they want to take that education and apply it here in the United States, and yet we make it difficult for them to remain here,” Alejandro Mayorkas, Obama’s director of citizenship and immigration services, told the Herald. “We ... often push them back to the countries of their origin to compete against us. And that is a broken system.”
The timing of reform and exactly what it would look like, however, are up to Congress, he said, noting that for the second time in as many months, House Republicans are expected to try to win approval today of a bill to issue up to 55,000 science, technology, engineering and math visas to students who earn advanced degrees at U.S. universities.
At a panel discussion yesterday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mayorkas, who came to the United States as a political refugee from Cuba, heard from dozens of students and alumni who were accepted into one of the world’s most prestigious universities, only to encounter obstacles later when they tried to start a job-creating business of their own.
When Bill Aulet, managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, asked the hundreds who attended how many of them were born outside the United States and have no clear path to stay, about half raised their hands.
“That’s a shame,” Aulet said. “That’s the best and the brightest.”
By contrast, Mayorkas said, the Chilean government has launched Startup Chile to attract world-class, early-stage entrepreneurs to start their businesses there.
Mayorkas said his office has taken steps to keep pace with the changing business landscape, including recruiting established entrepreneurs to help train a team of specialized immigration officers to handle entrepreneur and startup cases and launching an online resource center, Entrepreneur Pathways, to help those who want to start a business in the United States navigate the immigration process.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
I feed them, I take care of their medical and educational needs, I pay for their cell phones. Now along with these bills, I will pay to have them start a company in my country and compete with the company I created.