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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Help Support Immigration Reform In The US

Comments (16)

With the immigration debate in Washington heating up, Americans across the country recognize that we need smart and practical solutions to help reform our country’s broken immigration system.

Our immigration laws haven’t been significantly updated in almost 50 years, while other countries are implementing immigration programs to lure entrepreneurs, innovators, skilled workers, and other valuable potential employees.  Meanwhile, our system still works to support a Cold War economy in the 21st century. It’s an outdated and outmoded system that is as frustrating as it is ineffective.

That’s why this past February I joined with the Partnership for a New American Economy to join the March for Innovation, one of the largest virtual marches on Washington to promote smart immigration reform that will keep us competitive and help our economy grow. Run by the Partnership – a coalition of more than 500 mayors and CEOs led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – the March will unite these same leaders and the greater public in pushing for economically-smart, pro-tech, pro-entrepreneur immigration reform, including:

  • Visas for entrepreneurs
  • Access to high-skilled workers when and where they are needed through H-1B visas and green cards
  • Green cards for the advanced degree graduates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) we are training in our universities

And we need your help!  As we saw last year, virtual marches like the online protest against SOPA and PIPA can make a real difference in Washington. However, SOPA and PIPA worked because the campaign went viral. With your support, we can make the March for Innovation even more effective.

This call to action starts today and will culminate with a Thunderclap when legislation is introduced in May. We invite you to join us:

Start by sharing a tweet or Facebook post at marchforinnovation.com

  • If you have a story to tell, share it with the March for Innovation team at the same site
  • Join the Thunderclap (which will flood Twitter on the day of the March for Innovation) and follow the March on Facebook and Twitter
  • Use your company homepage to drive traffic to marchforinnovation.com with their widget atmarchforinnovation.com/get_widget
  • Email the March at info@marchforinnovation.com and tell them how you think you can help the effort.

I encourage you to get involved and get active on this issue. Our competitiveness on the world stage may depend on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9106775 Jeff Jason II

    “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses… as long as they can code or write a good business plan”

  • http://twitter.com/puppetMaster3 Vic C.

    I’m a start up CTO, and I think you are on the wrong side of this, this hurts most tech start ups. Not all, the ones that don’t have a problem hiring, but the ones that do, this will hurt them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9106775 Jeff Jason II

      Vic, are you suggesting that we’ll have too many startups trying to fight for too little talent? Because I think that’s the opposite intention here. I have a moral disagreement with this approach, but I don’t think I have a practical one. Yes, obviously the investors who only invest in US companies would benefit most from this, but I think the goal is to have a larger pool of talen from which we can draw.

      If we doubled the number of developers in the US then startups should have an easier time finding talent.

  • http://twitter.com/GregMeadows GregMeadows

    why are there caps on H1B visas? The US reached its self-imposed limits in Q1. makes no sense..I support any movement to grow US companies and create jobs here at home.

  • http://www.itdatabase.com/ Travis Van

    Hopefully someone can also educate Washington about the importance of outsourcing to the startup economy. All that tough talk and posturing as if it’s an evil practice, when many businesses would never get off the ground without inexpensive labor applied to certain functions in the business. The administration loves to get on a soap box and make it sound unpatriotic to hire anything but U.S. It’s absurd that anyone taking such a huge risk with their livelihood as to start a company should be expected to do anything other than hire or contract at the best available talent per buck at every position through the company. It’s also absurd the implication that Americans should be more entitled to any job than any other citizen of the world (given the already exceptional advantages granted to most of us by being born here in the first place).

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9106775 Jeff Jason II

      I don’t think many people are faulting startups for using outsourcing. The canonical example of what most people would consider “bad outsourcing” is a company with 50K employees and $5B in revenue taking a $15/hour job in Detroit and sending to mainland china for $0.15 an hour.

      I don’t think there is much ill will toward a startup with $1M a year in revenue hiring 2 developers in India for $15K a year each for every $150K/year lead they hire over here.

      Also, while I personally wholeheartedly agree with the “citizen of the world” approach, even states in this country fight each other for businesses and talent. Texas is the perfect example. Personally, I agree with the idea that children shouldn’t be working 80 hours a week at 10 years old for $0.10 an hour and then jumping off of a FoxConn roof when they hit 30 because they’ve been doing this for 20 years and their life isn’t worth living. The citizen of the world thing cuts both ways and I’d be all for outsourcing if we could also agree on worldwide labor policy.

      Excuse me while now get up from my mac mini and go answer my iPhone.

      • http://www.itdatabase.com/ Travis Van

        Agreed that the consensus view of “bad outsourcing” clearly applies to the most despicable examples of corporate greed (child labor, things like profitable companies shredding the teams that got them to where they are and replacing with cheapest possible options).

        But I don’t think the startup / outsourcing view is really represented at all in the public rhetoric by the administration. They seem to paint it all with the same brush, and it’s clearly to hit the rawest nerves for the greatest % of the population (these people are taking YOUR jobs). I just find it fucked up that they fuel this public fervor that’s very anti- international … a company that wouldn’t exist without international hires or outsourcing is not a job that’s been taken away by an American. I’m not sure that simple concept is understood by more than 75% of the U.S. population, because the whole thing is represented as a “corporate greed vs. the American worker” discussion.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9106775 Jeff Jason II

          In my experience startups outsourcing jobs is indeed not considered and we may get caught up in some sweeping protectionist legislation some day. Though, I think that’s unlikely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Morgan/506774310 Josh Morgan

    Vic, it will eventually hurt you when you find a stud programmer or designer that happens to be from another country. This isn’t about finding butts to put in seats (which you might be successful at doing). There are plenty of shitty programmers and designers out there. This is about opening up a new pool of candidates to select from and draw in the most talented.

    I think the items Brad outlined make sense. We dealt with this issue at Intense Debate with a Co-Founder…someone essential for our continued development.

    I’m much more in favor or surgical improvements to immigration reform than “comprehensive immigration reform.” The last thing we need is another 2000+ page piece of legislation that no one understands and will be botched when implemented (ie Obamacare). I’m very fearful of the same situation playing out like it did in the 80′s where people who were here illegally and skirted the system were granted amnesty. This incentivized the wrong sort of behavior and Ronald Reagan is still waiting for a secured border that was promised as part of the amnesty legislation.

  • http://www.aaronfyke.com Aaron Fyke

    Canada and Australia (and maybe other countries) have a triage list. Bachelor’s degree? That’s worth x. Below a certain age? That’s worth y. Skilled in these various fields that we want to promote? That’s worth z. Tally up the points and sort by score. The higher the score, the better. The US has this outdated, albeit romantic, notion of “huddled masses”. No. Whether we want tired, poor, huddled masses is one thing (and personally, I think that slogan has gone a long way to paint the negative image of immigrants in this country – it has an air of superiority for those already here). In a globally competitive world, that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about attracting the best and fast-tracking those people.

  • Anand

    I have mixed feelings about stuff like this. People talk about it in morally loaded terms, about how it’s about being an open society, one thats accepting of diversity, that even welcomes it. All very noble. Then in the fine print it says, “actually we were only talking about immigrants who’re useful, we don’t want the rest.”

    Maybe it’s a good thing the US doesn’t relax immigration and import a ton of the brightest young people in the world. Maybe the world will be a better place if the wealth is spread around.

    I don’t know, I’m just rambling now.

    [not directed at Brad personally, more of a general observation]

    • http://www.aaronfyke.com Aaron Fyke

      Sadly, the US is only open now, in a practical sense, to family members of existing citizens/residents. So, the only “tired, huddled masses” looking for a better life that come here have to do it illegally. So, at least opening up the process for useful immigrants is a start.

      By the way, I have no idea what the process is for refugees, rather than immigrants.

    • Murali Apparaju

      Wow, straight from the heart bro….. I have folks in the USA that are run of the mill, the huddled masses that are struggling with the same employer for 12 years for the elusive green card….. I also have folks in the USA that are the pampered usefuls…. ones that make it to the green-card & citizenship quick n easy, ones that could change the face of Indian enterprise if they choose to come back but wouldn’t since uncle Sam wants them.
      With no malice towards a great nation that takes care of it’s own people before anyone elses (& heck, why not?), I don’t think Brad there’s any further need for reform, USA was/ is doing a great job of keeping the advanced STEM students trained in its own universities within its borders…. Take heart Jo…., just make it to that darn dean’s list!
      The reform is needed in India (& probably in China, Vietnam et al)….. on how to lure back home the advanced degree STEM students groomed on home soil but polished in the US universities, create great jobs & assure quality of life for them within their country of birth……
      (nothing personal again, I just finished what i felt that Anand started & stopped short of completing….)

  • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=18847600&trk=tab_pro BillMcNeely

    Did you see the article in the NY Times today entitled Tech Firms Push to Hire More Workers From Abroad? I am at work so I can’t get the link.

  • Jo

    Interesting that while I fall into this category you identify; “Green cards for the advanced degree graduates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) we are training in our universities.” Those of us here legally on student visas are by definition on non-immigrant visas. You can’t indicate you have any intention to stay in the US at all (not even enter the green card lottery) while holding this visa. Are you suggesting the visa be changed to one with a path to immigration, and a greencard attached to that? When I graduate with my NSF-funded STEM PhD I will currently be made to leave the US, because I hold a student visa.

  • http://twitter.com/davidcascino David Cascino

    Link to the March for Innovation Thunderclap –> https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/1339-the-march-for-innovation

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