President Obama's Executive Order on Immigration: A Small But Important Step Towards True Reform


Tonight, President Obama announced that he will sign an Executive Order that will, among other things, expand immigration options for foreign-born entrepreneurs and make it easier for high-skilled workers awaiting Lawful Permanent Resident status to change jobs. While the President’s actions fall short of the legislation we had hoped for, we are encouraged to see some movement toward fixing a broken immigration system that plagues all aspects of our economy.

In particular, we applaud the President’s efforts to bring more high-skilled workers to the United States. As the President said, we must promote policies that allow immigrant entrepreneurs “to stay and create jobs here, create businesses here, create industries right here in America.” While the political debate on immigration has long been contentious, one thing has always been clear: there is widespread and popular support for expansion of the H1-B visa program and other efforts to bring skilled workers, particularly those skilled in technology, here.

We are simply turning away far too many talented people that want to come to the US to grow businesses. This year, more than 100,000 high-skilled workers were turned away because of limitations on the number of H1-B visas available. As studies show that immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses as native-born citizens, failing to accommodate the many immigrants that want to come to the US to start businesses unquestionably harms the American economy.

Our potential for growth is limitless when the world’s best and brightest minds are here in America, building American companies, creating American jobs, and recreating the American dream for every new generation.

We wish tonight that we could celebrate real, comprehensive legislation that would fix all facets of a broken immigration system, but policymakers have not yet been willing to take up the difficult, politically fraught task of true reform. While the President’s Executive Order is a step towards meaningful reform, some worry that the President’s actions make a bipartisan compromise harder to achieve in the short term. We remain hopeful that the enormous economic benefits that will flow from comprehensive immigration reform will encourage policymakers on both sides of the aisle can put party politics aside and take lead by finding solutions to the myriad problems with our immigration system that still remain.