Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL, has called on Congress to back a comprehensive package of immigration reforms or condemn the US to gradually losing its entrepreneurial edge in the global battle for new ideas and talent.
Case delivered an impassioned speech to the US Senate judiciary committee hearing that has kick started what promises to be an intensive round of congressional discussions on what to do with America's broken immigration system. In his state of the union speech on Tuesday night, President Obama said that his proposals for reform would include new channels to "attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy".
Case, who now runs an investment firm called Revolution, is spearheading a concerted campaign from major Silicon Valley companies which have grown increasingly frustrated by the bureaucratic hurdles put in their way to keeping talented young entrepreneurs and engineers in the US. "As we grow complacent in the global battle for talent, our competitors are picking up the game," Case warned the senators.
He cited the example of Australia, a country with an economy 1/14th the size of America's but that grants almost as many green cards as does the US. He also pointed to a cautionary tale: that Google and other large firms had been forced to relocate sections of their operations abroad, because they had been unable to overcome the blockage in obtaining US visas for highly skilled workers.
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