Face-off: Foreign Entrepreneurs vs. the Immigration Alligators -- with Obama as Referee
President Obama has put on a good show lately about the need for the populace to rise up and pressure the GOP to enact comprehensive immigration reform. He urges citizens to begin "a national conversation on immigration reform that builds a bipartisan consensus to fix our broken immigration system so it works for America’s 21st century economy." With the White House claiming that "he can’t do it alone," he asks you and me to host roundtables that will "help bring the debate to your community."
Were it not for the Republicans who keep moving the goal posts on border security, he claimed on May 10 in El Paso, we'd be able, together, to devise the grand solution that fixes our nation's wholly dysfunctional immigration system:
We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done. But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time. . . . they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. (Laughter.) Maybe they want alligators in the moat. (Laughter.) They’ll never be satisfied. And I understand that. That’s politics.
Some may be moved by his crocodile tears to swallow the notion that his hands are tied. I have a few words in response: Balderdash. Bunkum. Hogwash. Fiddle-faddle.
Either this president is not the analytical, data-gathering, cooly-decisive and valiant leader portrayed by the media, particularly since the takedown of Osama Bid Laden, or, he is playing politics with people's lives and "America’s 21st century economy." There's no need to repeat previous posts (here, here, here, here, here and there) on his broad executive authority to ameliorate the traumas endured by DREAMers and the other undocumented among us.
The simple fact, known all too well by immigration insiders but rarely reported, is that President Obama could vastly improve America's competitiveness and stop the flight of foreign talent back to their homelands by reversing or recalibrating several administrative rules or rulings that have long thrown foreign entrepreneurs into the moat with the immigration alligators.
Here are some things that President Obama could accomplish immediately, solely by executive action, to allow existing America's immigration laws to help create jobs:
President Obama is no fool. He understands the link between immigration, innovation and job creation, as he explained to the crowd in El Paso:
[O]ur laws discourage [foreign students educated in the U.S.] from using those skills to start a business or a new industry here in the United States. Instead of training entrepreneurs to stay here, we train them to create jobs for our competition. That makes no sense. In a global marketplace, we need all the talent we can attract, all the talent we can get to stay here to start businesses -- not just to benefit those individuals, but because their contribution will benefit all Americans.
Look at Intel, look at Google, look at Yahoo, look at eBay. All those great American companies, all the jobs they've created, everything that has helped us take leadership in the high-tech industry, every one of those was founded by, guess who, an immigrant. (Applause.)
So we don’t want the next Intel or the next Google to be created in China or India. We want those companies and jobs to take root here. (Applause.) Bill Gates gets this. He knows a little something about the high-tech industry. He said, “The United States will find it far more difficult to maintain its competitive edge if it excludes those who are able and willing to help us compete.”
So immigration is not just the right thing to do. It’s smart for our economy. It’s smart for our economy. (Applause.) And it’s for this reason that businesses all across America are demanding that Washington finally meet its responsibilities to solve the immigration problem.
Why does the President wait for Congress to act when he has his executive pen in his pocket? Why should immediate job creation be held hostage to Washingtonian impasse, when the job-eating immigration alligators under his control can be easily restrained? I'm no politico, but it's politics, I suppose.
Angelo Paparelli is a partner of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Mr. Paparelli, with a bicoastal practice in Southern California and New York City, is known for providing creative solutions to complex and straightforward immigration law problems, especially involving mergers and acquisitions, labor certifications and the H-1B visa category. His practice areas include legislative advocacy; employer compliance audits and investigations; U.S. and foreign work visas and permanent residence for executives, managers, scientists, scholars, investors, professionals, students and visitors; immigration messaging and speech-writing; corporate policy formulation; and immigration litigation before administrative agencies and the federal courts. He is frequently quoted in leading national publications on immigration law. He is also President of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, a 30-firm global consortium of leading immigration practitioners. Paparelli’s blog and a comprehensive list of his many immigration law articles can be found at www.entertheusa.com. He is an alumnus of the University of Michigan where he earned his B.A., and of Wayne State University Law School where he earned his J.D. Paparelli is admitted to the state bars of California, Michigan and New York.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.