After the Gang of Eight


Last Wednesday, the Senate’s so-called “Gang of 8” released their proposal to fix our nation’s immigration system. The 844-page bill, (which you can read here you speak legal), aims to rebuild a system which has become overloaded, burdensome and anti-competitive in a global context. The nuanced proposal covers multiple sectors of our economy, and different skill levels of potential immigrants.

For our community, there are many encouraging signs which we’ve written about in our full policy update. The inclusion of provisions like a startup visa, merit-based visas, and an increase in H-1B visas provide for more and better pathways for immigrant entrepreneurs to build business in America.

So, ok, great! Job well done everyone. Glad we fixed that. Is it time to move on?

Not even remotely.

From at least one conversation I had at the end of last week with a tired Senate staffer, I can report that “now is the time for the real work to begin.” This comes from an individual who has been working on immigration legislation with other Senate offices for the last four years.

The next step for the bill is to wind through the sometimes-rocky committee and amendment processes in the Senate. We also expect, in fairly short order, to see a companion piece of legislation from a similarly tasked group of House members. Then, the pundits, interest groups, and others will weigh in on what they see.

If the Senate bill passes in both chambers, it can be sent for the President’s signature to become law. If the Senate and House proposals pass through both chambers, the bills must then be conflated before reaching the President’s desk. In the worst case scenario, neither bill passes both houses and we start again from the beginning.

Now more than ever, it is critically important for you to keep the pressure on Congress to make sure the immigration debate and reform legislation continues to advance -- we need to ensure that the positive provisions for our startup community are represented in the final bill. We can do this by reminding members of Congress that building an immigration system that works, and can scale, is of critical importance to our ability to remain competitive in a global marketplace. We started by telling the House Small Business Committee just how important startups are to the U.S. economy.

Right now, the best way to take action is to join with our friends at March for Innovation. There, you’ll find resources, ways to get active, and can sign up for the Thunderclap in anticipation of the upcoming virtual march on Washington. We’ll be making more resources available in the coming weeks and months as this process continues.

To ensure we reach the eventual goal of rebuilding a broken immigration system, we as a startup community need to continue our active engagement in this process as it unfolds. Our voices will be critically important, and our work is underway. Engine, and all of its resources, stand at the ready to help reach our goal.

If you have an immigration story to tell, email