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That Was Fast: Immigration Reform Already Hitting a Roadblock?

The attitudes of the House Judiciary Committee show that legislative reform needed for a Startup Visa program may have a long road ahead.
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Just one week after President Obama delivered a speech calling for an overhaul to the U.S. immigration system before year-end, large-scale immigration reform--and hopes for an increase in immigrant-spurred entrepreneurship and job creation--may already be hitting a roadblock.

Early Tuesday morning, the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee held hearings on the quite secretive bipartisan immigration reform proposal. During the hearings, Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), said that the panel “needs to take the time to learn from the past so that our efforts to reform our immigration laws do not repeat the same mistakes.” In short: Republicans want to take reform nice and slow.

Observers have said that the prospect of swift reform already appears to be in jeopardy, setting the stage for the type of protracted legislative war of attrition that has recently become commonplace.

Caught in the political fray are hopes for quick passage of the stalled-out Startup Visa Bill. Among other changes near and dear to the business community, the bill would allow immigrant entrepreneurs, after obtaining a four-year degree, to qualify for visas if they can raise enough capital for their business proposal

Hoping to capitalize on the U.S.’s inability to get pro-business immigration reform passed quickly, Canada recently announced plans to start its own Startup Visa program, which would offer permanent residency to foreign entrepreneurs. It's expected to go into effect in April of this year.

The Canadians aren't planning to be subtle about it. At a press conference, according to the Financial Post, Jason Kenney, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, declared, “When this thing gets launched, I plan to go down to Silicon Valley with some of the industry associates here and fly the Canadian flag.” 

 




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