Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced several administrative action steps it intends to take to ease a number of legal immigration processes and better inform foreign born entrepreneurs about their options. These measures can be implemented without legislation which, given Congress's reluctance to address legal immigration reform as a stand alone policy, is the only current opportunity to support these important contributors to U.S. economic growth. The action items include clarification regarding foreign-born entrepreneurs ability to qualify for a National Interest Waiver under the EB-2 green card process as well as H1-B Visas. The USCIS also announced plans to re-invent the EB-5 investor Visa program, allowing for streamlined processing for select petitions. The Administration also intends to keep the immigration dialogue active with entrepreneurs beginning with a series of meetings to garner feedback from a variety of stakeholders in the process.
The initiatives announced today illustrate 1) the support of the Administration to ease the immigration path for foreign born entrepreneurs and 2) the fact that there is only so much that can be done without legislative action. These administrative measures are in the spirit of generating ongoing job creation and innovation in the United States, but make no mistake: Major legal immigration reform must remain a top priority for the venture and entrepreneurial communities. The Obama Administration clearly understands the powerful job creation possibilities that such reform could bring. The venture capital industry and start-up communities have long understood this dynamic. We applaud today's step in the right direction and urge everyone -- The White House, Congress, and all stakeholders -- to commit to ongoing momentum for this critical issue of national importance.
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