To execute on the idea of Startup Visa in DC, should the startup community support the DREAM Act?

In January 2012, President Obama said in his State of the Union:

But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive [immigration] plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country.  Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship.  I will sign it right away.

The translation of this is that the President supports a ‘minimum viable policy package’ containing STEM Green Cards (“staff our labs”), Startup Visa (“start new businesses”), and the DREAM Act (“defend this country”).

The impact of this proposal would be the following:

  • Graduate with an advanced technical degree from a US university: get a green card ‘stapled‘ to your diploma
  • Create startup jobs, build a great company: get a visa, fast track to a green card
  • Enlist in the military, serve honorably: get a visa, fast track to a green card, including undocumented immigrants

Should the startup community back this proposal? We’ve clearly supported STEM and Startup Visa in the past. The word from Washington is that those individual bills are too narrow to be viable—features, not products—the market of politicians won’t support them as is, thus the minimum viable policy package.

We, the community, need to decide if there is enough overlap with military service for us to support. The Bloomberg Administration of NYC and their Partnership for a New American Economy calls for chasing after the ‘best, brightest, and hardest working’ immigrants.

I think they and we should both support this package as a way to promote entrepreneurship and continue to make sure America remains the leader in innovation and monetization of great ideas and products.

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