Immigration Reform

For those who watched the talk I did with Paul Smalera, some of this will be redundant. Paul asked me why we haven't gotten all of these "no brainer" immigration reform proposals like the startup visa (funded entrepreneurs get to stay in the US and build their companies here), or the STEM visa (graduate degrees in STEM come stapled with a visa), or an end to kicking undergrads out after they graduate.

The answer is that there has been a long standing debate in the US about "comprehensive immigration reform" which involves putting many of the immigrants who are already here on some sort of path to citizenship in return for a committment to strengthening our borders so we get less illegal immigration.

And all of these really great ideas about piecemeal immigration reform that both sides support have been hostage to the big idea of comprehensive reform. If the elected officials give industry the things they want like more H1B visas, STEM visas, startup visas, etc, then they lose our collective pressure on the immigration issue. And they need our collective pressure (and money) to get this done.

Last week, the "gang of eight" introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill. It is now making its way through hearings and such and will eventually face a vote in Congress. This bill includes all of these piecemeal proposals we have been advocating for in the startup and tech community for years:

  • startup visa
  • STEM Green Card
  • undergrads are allowed to intend to stay in the US after graduation
  • one line for green card applications
  • merit-based, points-system green card
  • merit-based green card will clear out backlogs
  • more H-1Bs

So if you want to see all of these good and important changes to the immigration laws in the US, you have to get behind comprehensive immigration reform. That's the way the deck is stacked in this debate. It took me a long time to understand that and although it is illogical, it is the way it is.

There are many opponents to the comprehensive immigration reform bill out there. And they will use anything, including things like what happened in Boston last week, to kill it. We need everyone in the tech industry and the world of startups to get behind this bill. Not only because it addresses pretty much every request we have made on immigration but also because the US is a land of opportunity and diversity and it is our greatest strength that we allow good people to come here and build a life, a career, a family, and a company.

I hope all of you will support comprehensive immigration refrom loudly and vigorously. We will need it. If you want to do something right now, go here or here and get involved.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Good luck with all this. It makes a lot of sense. Human capital is a competitive advantage. Look to Canada as an example & just do it.

    1. fredwilson

      “just do it”that happens in startups a lot. in government not so much.

      1. HistoryInAction

        Specifically the American system.The Canadian example was done through executive action, passed behind closed doors, and we’re having trouble tracking down the actual bill language. The party in power decided it wanted to act, and the Canadian government allowed them to do so.In the US, we’re going to move slowly—even if we pass the bill, there’s a 16 month deadline before the implementing agency (DHS through USCIS aka Immigration) has to have all the regulations in place for executing on something like startup visa. In our current situation, the parties share power, but even though we have support from members of both parties, there are enough “kill switches” on the legislative process that major legislation can still easily be derailed.Tracking that sort of thing is my job, though.

        1. pointsnfigures

          I am okay with the deliberative process. It is frustrating, but checks and balances have worked.

          1. leigh


          2. William Mougayar

            Ok, as long as c&b doesn’t become gridlock.

          3. ShanaC


        2. leigh

          The Harper Gov’t is known for it’s behind closed doors getting shit passed through = lack of transparency.”The party in power decide it wanted to act so the Canadian gov’t allowed them to do so” — actually the party in power IS the Cnd Gov’t – again good thing? Not so much.

          1. William Mougayar

            I don’t mind it if it’s the right thing. It keeps things moving. It could be called benevolent dictatorship or forceful democracy. It’s up to the opposing parties to counter if they don’t agree. A recent case, the Canadian Startup Visa was the right thing to do and doesn’t need endless debates.

          2. awaldstein

            Weird process .It works when you agree and don’t mind lack of transparency but it must enrage when you don’t.

          3. William Mougayar

            I don’t think that happens as often as one might think. The Parliament works well with checks & balances, but it’s the Canadian Senate that I’m not so sure about.

          4. pointsnfigures

            Singapore has a benevolent dictator. Works fine until the dictator is threatened

          5. leigh

            Yep i never mind if it’s the right thing — just when it’s the wrong thing. Trouble is, who gets to decide?

          6. HistoryInAction

            Leigh, noted and exactly right. To clarify, “the constitutional system of Canadian governance allowed them to do so” 🙂

        3. JLM

          .Given the track record on the JOBS Act, you can expect no real action of any kind whatsoever. Ever.JLM.

          1. HistoryInAction

            The JOBS Act is slowly moving forward on implementation. The problem is (intentional) delays in the implementation of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which needs to be in place before the JOBS Act can be implemented.And aside from Pando, I haven’t seen any references to the private Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) FINRA and their moves on JOBS:…All the same, Congress did its job on JOBS, and then we let up the pressure on the bureaucrats. Not making /that/ mistake again.

          2. JLM

            .The failure to issue the Rules is more a function of the recent vacancy on the SEC and the obvious implications of the SEC itself not “liking” the JOBS Act.Now, that vacancy has been filled. Just recently, mind you.The implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act has next to nothing to do with the issuance of the appropriate Rules by the SEC pertinent to the JOBS Act. Correct me if I have missed something, please.FINRA has a natural aversion to the Reg D portions of the JOBS Act as it allows companies — existing companies not Emerging Growth Companies — to raise money for themselves without WITHOUT the use of a Broker Dealer as long as nobody gets paid a facilitation or fundraising fee.The simple truth — April 2012 to April 2013 is an unacceptable time period if anyone in the Administration really cares about the economy.If I were the President:President JLM: “Hey, fellows, don’t bother to even take a seat, this is going to be a very short meeting. If I do not have the SEC’s Rules on my desk in two weeks, all of ya’ll are fired. We clear on this?”SEC: “Crystal.”President JLM: “Good, ya’ll are dismissed and have a nice damn day.”JLM.

          3. HistoryInAction

            What I’m hearing from within DC and the SEC is that Dodd-Frank is playing a much bigger role than we suspect. I don’t see anything publicly, which is frustrating.Yes, we lost momentum when Schapiro stepped down, but we weren’t seeing much progress before then either. But what I was hearing is that the SEC is behind but moving (a negative), while FINRA was passively opposing implementation (a divider). Neither are good, but the SEC has at least a portion of their staff in favor of quick implementation.I hear we’ve gotten some effective consolidation of our advocacy groups on this issue, though.But I’ll vote for you anyway 🙂

      2. LE

        “just do it”Otoh plenty of startups fail as is universally commonly acknowledged. And if you blend in the other variations you get even more failure.And when startups take chances and fail they end up being lionized in many cases, get a job with their friends elsewhere, or fall back on their parents. (By the way to anyone reading this that is “young” back in the day when you failed and lost either your own money or someone else’s there was no trophy other than one that said “you suck dumb idea”.)I think politicians would be more willing to “just do it” if there wasn’t such a backlash when the right thing didn’t happen and they were given a pass. But that’s not the way the world works. All people care about is results. Where “people” is what people read written by thought leaders.And we are heading more and more toward a “not on my watch” mentality [1] whereby nobody wants to be the one blamed for not doing everything and anything to protect people from some acute event. An example of this is the tremendous manpower spent on the Boston lockdown or the lockdown that I mentioned in my neighborhood just a few days ago.[1] Or what happens in medicine that has added to our costs in that area.


          The real problem is you and me! Do you first look to the business next door for your needs? Do you make sure it is not buying junk from outside the U.S.? Do you help your fellow American get a job? Do you try to ensure opportunity for your kids and your neighbor’s kids?All our problems are really our own fault. We as Americans need to take care of our own. Then when we’re not a bunch of dumbasses with ~50% unemployment we can dare to tell others we *can* help them!

          1. CJ

            Take care of your own when you have a movement that’s succeeding in establishing the Creation Story as science. How can we compete when that is being taught in our schools as fact? That’s just one example of how just minding your own business could screw up America as a whole.


            We don’t need to compete. The whole closed system argument is false. We con’t trade with other planets so the earth is a closed trade system.It’s not really about minding your own business (if I read your post right). It’s about getting out and making sure to help your fellow americans.I try everyday. But, it’s hard. I need help from others.

        2. ShanaC

          one of the reasons this is happening is that the distribution of voters is causing polarization. it is more risky for either group to have people who move even a bit outside

      3. CJ

        Because bags of money on the White House lawn don’t have the same impact as a mass of people. You want to Nike the process, flood D.C. with people with a singular goal who refuse to leave until their grievances are heard AND addressed. The Occupy movement had the right idea but the wrong targets and lacked the necessary cohesion of thought(what were their demands again?) to spur any change.Money runs the D.C. machine, but attention scares the shit out of them.


          Forget D.C. and “Just do it” yourself !!! Why give up control and *beg* someone else to do something? The reason nothing gets done is because lazy people are always bitching that *someone else* isn’t doing it.The occupy wallstreet movement was a bunch of idiots. They wanted to bitch until someone else fixed things. If you want change do it yourself. It should have been the “Occupy Ownership” movement not “Occupy Wallstreet”.

          1. CJ

            That’s not my point. My point is the system is broken by money and the only way to fight it effectively is with people. One person doesn’t stand a chance against a the billions flowing into D.C. but a mass of people could.


            I’m thinking the way to fight money is with money. But really to be more specific you fight what money can buy with what money can buy.So, you support the people who like you want to make America great again. You also must remove support from people who are working against you.I really think you’re right that it’s people who can make changes. But, they need to be able to help each other first. So, build America by supporting the neighbors you know are also wanting to build America.

        2. JLM

          .Yes, the Occupy Wall Street movement was, in fact, a very thoughtful and well reasoned expression of needed changes.Uhhh, what were they asking for again? Or what were they protesting about again? Sorry, it must be me, I’m sure.The depth of their thinking would not have wet a postage stamp.JLM.

          1. CJ

            Are you agreeing with me? I can’t tell, I do know I said just that. 🙂 My point about them is that had they gathered their forces & come up with some sort of agenda of change and sat down on the White House lawn they would have actually affected change rather than just becoming a footnote.

          2. JLM

            .I am agreeing with you. It does happen from time to time, no?Well played.JLM.

          3. CJ

            Not often about politics. 🙂

  2. Richard

    Other benefits of this this bill, Clayton Christianson may have spoke too soon about the demise / irrelevancy of the university? Does the university become the de facto immigration department?

    1. HistoryInAction

      It already is right now for short-term visas through the J-1 program, specifically for grad students. More broadly, though, yes, the points-based system does lead to worries about over-reliance on credentialism re: PG on same

      1. Richard

        Politicians seem not to think things through? Would you rather have a stem student from a top university in Russia or Singpore or a wealthy foreign student studying at the university of the District of Columbia.

    2. fredwilson

      Great point

  3. Abs Ghosh

    Nice to see this finally happening and good luck. Immigration-related restrictions was one of the main reasons for me leaving the US and coming back to the UK.

  4. andyswan

    Open immigration for anyone1) with no criminal record and 2) who will sign that they and their children are ineligible for all government benefit programs and 3) are subject to immediate deportation upon committing any felony or being associated with extremist activityOne of the many problems with the welfare nanny state is that it becomes a magnet for the wrong type of immigrant, and repels the right kind of citizen.Reversing our move to a welfare state is the best thing we can do for both current citizens and those that wish to be productive here. Until then, we’re just adding to the rulebook and giving a necessarily corrupt referee more power.

    1. Daman Bahner

      Sounds like an enticing package, especially #2. I think you’ve got a skewed perspective on the average immigrant, and you come off as the traditional arrogant, entitled American who thinks that since they’ve been here a few generations post native genocide, it’s your eminent domain to now make decisions about. What is your definition of the “right” citizen, does it rhyme with anything else?

      1. andyswan

        You’re the only one projecting bigotry here. Move along.

        1. Daman Bahner

          Well thought out reply. I was hoping for some discourse.

          1. pointsnfigures

            i think the native genocide remark is what he was referring to. If you are intrigued by point two, then read Gary Becker’s policy on how to affect positive immigration to America.

          2. Daman Bahner

            Will do, thank you.

          3. andyswan

            That and the inference that I think the “right” citizen is a “white” citizen without any reason other than my political views and color of MY skin.

          4. Daman Bahner

            Touche, now that the first morning cup of joe is in me, the grumpiness of my original reply is apparent. In all seriousness, I did not intend, and did not mean to wrongly insinuate that. AVC is too cherished of a place for that 🙂

          5. andyswan

            Haha…. well judging by the “votes” it looks like a lot of AVCers agree with your original assessment of me 🙂

          6. Daman Bahner

            Ironic that I no longer completely agree with my “self” of an hour ago 🙂 Nice that discussion can change minds, especially in a good forum.

          7. andyswan

            You closed that door. I don’t engage in discourse with presumptive bigots .

          8. Daman Bahner

            #Upvote>> I apologize if it came off a bit trollish. I did not say you “are” rather than the statement came off that way. I think the ideal is a way to figure out some process of immigration reform that doesn’t shut down positive immigration growth in the form of knowledge workers, etc. who would add to our diaspora. The welfare state is being well embraced by Americans already here, I agree it’s not prudent to add to that problem, but I think it’s overstated as an issue of importance relevant to the immigration discussion. I will behave, no beef with ya Mr. Swan 🙂

          9. andyswan

            All good. It’s incredibly frustrating to be inferred to be a racist anytime we delve into these topics, especially when my goal is to make the immigration system blind to color or nationality and as open as possible.

          10. Daman Bahner

            My bad, not my intention. I often empathize with my brother in law (Irish) feeling nervous jumping into these discussions as he has felt that same inference or interpretation, or sometimes has been told his opinion is coming from that lofty place of “white privilege” (sarcasm) so it’s not as relevant. If we’re to achieve any kind of intelligent discussion in our country on this, I wholeheartedly agree that race needs to be out of the discussion, and it’s just as wrong to exclude or denature opinons of people because they are white as it would be otherwise. Glad that we’re both part of the discussion.

      2. LE

        It’s called “last man over the bridge”. The problem is the island can only hold so many people.

        1. Daman Bahner

          I’m familiar, I think we’ve got a little room left though. Ever driven through West Texas?

    2. leigh

      seems way more black and white then it is in reality. Nelson Mandela wouldn’t have been allowed to immigrate to the US based on your criteria. #justsaying

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        You put it so much more succinctly than I did! +1 for elegance.

        1. leigh


      2. andyswan

        #1 obviously needs clarity. I apologize. I’m not trying to create the perfect plan on AVC but I am trying to create a better starting point than adding onto our already broken system.

      3. Dave Pinsen

        There’s an old saying: hard cases make bad law.

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      What if the criminal record is related to being a dissident in a communist dictatorship?I think this is fair as long as everyone who was born here and whose parents were born here are subject to same if they smoke, drink too much, don’t exercise enough, eat too much junk food, etc.But in all seriousness, item 2 just doesn’t make sense. If we believe that people coming in and contributing to the system outweigh the people who will become dependent upon it — which we must believe if we want immigration reform — then item 2 is just unnecessary. (And, in my opinion, cruel. But that’s a different discussion.)Finally, number 3. What if the extremist activity they participate in is side by side with you when it’s time to exercise your 2nd amendment rights to correct an overreaching government?I’m not picking on you. I just don’t think these kinds of rules work when put into practice.The shit that immigrants put up with is truly unAmerican. I know a lot of immigrants (legal ones). Did you know, that when they are finally getting their full citizenship, women immigrants get asked how many sex partners they’ve had? No sluts allowed, apparently.

      1. andyswan

        With respect to #1 I am talking about a criminal record of violence. Obviously would need to define the crimes that keep you out.I for one do NOT believe that you can have an open immigration policy without #2, and an open immigration policy is my goal.As for any revolution, which I hope like hell never has to happen again, I don’t think that people who take up arms against the US government will have their Visa status as a top priority.

        1. ErikSchwartz

          Just to play devil’s advocate; a criminal record is created by the government in question. You are not a felon until the government says you are a felon. For instance, in the US guys like Glenn Beck have publicly admitted to committing drug felonies but they are still permitted to own firearms because they were never convicted of these felonies.

          1. andyswan

            Certainly need to consider the validity of the prior government. #1 is the weakest part of my “plan” and certainly needs further definition.

          2. LE

            “For instance, in the US guys like Glenn Beck have publicly admitted”And that of course assumes that what he said is even true. You could have a circumstance where someone claims anything for various reasons (publicity) and it’s not actually true or subject to interpretation. One of the reasons trials take so long. Facts matter.You need some demarcation point and “conviction” is probably a good one.

      2. JLM

        .As to your first question regarding dissidence in a dictatorship, political asylum is the easiest requisite condition to argue and the hardest to deny.The Boston Bombers’ parents entered the US as political refugees from Dagestan (shares a border with both Chechnya and Georgia) which is a hot bed of political upheaval.JLM.

    4. bsoist

      I can’t say I agree with your 3 points, but you raise a very important point. One that I’ve been trying to explain for years. The problem is not immigration – it’s the entitlements. If you read most people’s complaints about immigrants carefully, you’ll see it is about that they are really complaining.

      1. andyswan

        Exactly. Thank you.

    5. Cam MacRae

      You’d need to exempt me from being taxed as a resident alien before I’d agree to 2).

      1. andyswan

        Ya maybe put an expiration…. Eligible for gov’t programs after 40 years or you’ve paid $100,000 in federal income tax, whichever comes first.

    6. LE

      “who will sign that they and their children are ineligible for all government benefit programs”Not sure that could be done. Like selling someone a lower priced ticket on a boat and telling them that they will be last to get the lifeboat. Or telling someone if they smoke we won’t treat them in a hospital. Or telling your kid if he does “x” he can’t come on the family vacation (creates a problem for you in other words).

      1. Dave Pinsen

        You’re probably right, legally. The law allows the government (actually, requires it) to select immigrants in most cases who aren’t likely to become public charges, but once they’re here, it’s unlikely they’ll be denied public assistance.It’s worth remembering though, that the Ellis Island era of immigration that everyone is nostalgic for occurred during a period before there was a government welfare state. Immigrants who couldn’t make a living in the US often went back to their countries of origin. That had a different selection effect than our current system.

        1. andyswan

          Spot on. Once you’re a welfare state you can’t accept any and all, because you can’t pay for any and all.

        2. ShanaC

          or they got stuck here

    7. Dave Pinsen

      Our current law says that immigrants must be able to support themselves, and not become charges of the government. But charges of the government are a huge constituency of one of our major political parties, so this law is unenforced. President Obama’s half aunt for example, who was an illegal resident here (after overstaying her temporary visa, but has since been granted political asylum), lives in public housing and is on disability.Had your 3) been enforced, the older of the Chechen terrorist brothers would have been deported before his Boston massacre, as he had a domestic violence conviction in 2009.

      1. kidmercury

        you mean the unconvicted chechen brothers whom everyone assumes is guilty although they have not had a trial yet?

        1. LE

          “whom everyone assumes is guilty”Agree with you on that one.BTW – When the first brother was killed I actually thought of you and your conspiracy theories. Remembering back to Godfather 2 where Michael Corleone said “I want them back alive – ALIVE”.

  5. Tom Labus

    Patrick Leahy warning against “politics” after Boston.http://www.burlingtonfreepr…Good luck on this one. Boston is major ammo to opponents of the legislation. They will go for delay at least.

  6. andyswan

    “And they will use anything, including things like what happened in Boston last week, to kill it.”Now you can see why 2nd amendment folks get a little weary and suspicious when their political opponents use emotional tragedies to propel their agenda.

    1. kidmercury


      1. awaldstein

        Oy!This is driving me off of avc. Kinda broken record of a song that just is not my beat.I’m respectful, a conversation junkie but oh so weary of this discussion becoming the center of every topic of debate.No disrespect. Maybe its the only topic worthy of discussion. Just not for me.

        1. kidmercury

          it is reciprocal; i’m weary of mass ignorance. in any event, everyone can comment freely (or not), until moderators intervene.

          1. awaldstein

            If anyone believes in the unmoderated messiness of community, it’s me.The most vocal, aggressive and obsessive take the majority of oxygen that there is in strings like this.So yes…either jump in or jump out is the choice.For me, as soon as the discussion turns in this direction, I’m out. I need inspiration everyday and this isn’t it for me.

          2. pointsnfigures

            We had a Startup Weekend in Chicago last weekend. The three top business ideas are sort of inspiring. won. another one was

          3. CJ

            Wow, I hate I missed this. Especially considering I work a brisk 3min walk away from there. How do I get on the email list for such things?

        2. andyswan

          The timing was just too blatant and the parallels too strong for me to pass it up. I’d much rather be talking about business models.

          1. LE

            I remember when I was younger I used to say “I’m not running a popularity contest”. That has served me well in retrospect. It’s easy to get people to like you just let it be about them, what they feel is important, or have something that they benefit from (or make them laugh ok a host of other things). A big house where you can hold a party or a vacation home also works.Arnold is annoyed and doesn’t want to take the time to put in the effort to deal with what you are saying. That’s fine.He says “I need inspiration everyday and this isn’t it for me.”The way I see it you saying what you said is what gives you the juice and makes you feel positive and gives you inspiration. Same reason I say what I say or the Kid says what he says or JLM says what he says.Nothing tangible results from any of this other than that feeling.

          2. fredwilson

            then do that. this shit is pissing me off.


            You choose to go here not us. You should already know that dealing with politics requires patience. Governments are suppose to be reactive not proactive. When a government is proactive it’s not serving the people.

          4. fredwilson

            i have patience for governments, but not for trolls


          I imagine Fred must *boost ratings* every now and again. But yep, why isn’t the post titled “I have a bunch of money to invest in America. Who’s with me?”

          1. fredwilson

            if i wanted to boost ratings, i would stop talking about policy stuff. it gets the least amount of traffic.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            I dunno… 288 comments.


            Oh Donna… Donna… Donna… Yes, 288 comments but how much traffic? Remember there are non-posters reading all this. And the blog post title is what gets promoted on the web.

          4. Donna Brewington White

            The numbers mean either traffic or engagement. The latter is an AVC trademark even more than the former. And hey if you are going to comment so often you really should get an avatar.

        4. ShanaC

          i’m with you, I want to have a no politics week

          1. awaldstein

            I’m not participating period which means I need to take a sabbatical for a bit.

          2. ShanaC

            :/ though you still owe me a farmers market trip :p

        5. fredwilson

          what should i do about this arnold. i agree that they are trolling and dominating. i can’t ban them. and even when i write about something else, they come out with their gun nonsense.

          1. awaldstein

            Tough…I believe in self policing communities as well but the population and tenor have certainly changed.For me, I decided to just show up today which I think is a good first step!

          2. fredwilson

            maybe i need to cool it on the policy stuff. i would but FG sort of convinced me not to last week in his comment to me when i said i was tired of all the nonsense.

          3. awaldstein

            You need to write what’s top of mind for you.That being said, what keeps me here beside camaraderie, is there’s a mix. Stuff I’m light on (politics and policy), stuff that’s the lifestream of my work and passion (tech, funding, financing, cool shit to try out), stuff i’m the expert on and sit up and jump in to share and learn.The breadth of that interest footprint is what keeps the audience diverse. That’s key to me.

          4. William Mougayar

            I’m with FG & Arnold on this. It would be a shame if you stopped writing on issues you are so passionate about for these reasons.It’s also unfortunate that the tone of the discussions even drove you off your own forum.I’ve stayed away yesterday for the reasons Arnold cited & won’t engage in off-topic beefs with bullying undertones.Send them to read the principles of a Socratic debate…, and I will end it with this quote from Socrates:”When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”


            “I’m with FG & Arnold on this. It would be a shame if you stopped writing on issues you are so passionate about for these reasons.”Not me! I want Fred to stop talking about this shit and get back to talking about makin’ money.

          6. fredwilson

            this is all about making money. you just can’t open your eyes to see that.

          7. CJ

            I’d hate to see the precedent set where the community sways you to stop writing about issues on your mind. I much prefer it when we suggest new topics.

          8. Dave W Baldwin

            Ignore.Personally, the policy issue I’m waiting for is CISPA. I’ve received my expected reply from Senator Blunt. My problem this past month has been the fact I have no Representative (Emerson resigned).They are going to use Boston on this. Blunt’s response made CISPA sound all harmless and squeaky clean.


            Keep in mind that the *nonsense* in this case is standard political discussion. If you want to dabble in politics you have to get used to it.

          10. William Mougayar

            Reporting for duty.Clear weather and no trolling in sight 🙂

          11. awaldstein

            Ahh…nice to have friends!

          12. Donna Brewington White

            Group hug.

          13. Donna Brewington White

            I must have gotten in under the radar.

          14. William Mougayar


          15. Donna Brewington White

            “the population and tenor have certainly changed”In general or just around these controversial topics?The population has changed meaning new people, or the absence of long-timers?I went in a different direction yesterday and didn’t land at AVC. But it was seeing one of your comments on my disqus dashboard this morning that brought me over here. The one beginning with “Oy.”

          16. awaldstein

            Both…The acerbic and confrontational tone around social issues really bothers me.Kinda mob bullying stuff. I’m all about conversation. Relish being challenged. Not at all interested in arguments or attacks.Self policing communities go through phases. This is certainly one that is less than productive for me.

          17. Donna Brewington White

            “Self policing communities go through phases.”phase is the operative word… (she says hopefully)

          18. Cam MacRae

            I think it demonstrates the all pervading nature of wedge politics. As an outsider looking in I see a lot of smart players apparently unaware they’ve been played.

          19. ShanaC

            politics needs to stop being such a wedge if we want to get stuff done in the political realm. I’m sick of it, and I’m sick of watching the US government put politics before policy

          20. Cam MacRae

            Perhaps anyone who actively seeks power should be disqualified from it.

          21. Donna Brewington White

            You created this monster, Fred. By and large it’s a good monster. Even when it annoys you. Some of the people (I’m guessing at who) that you refer to are also some of the most loyal yet provocative members and give spice to this community. Remember the “instigator” badge?This is an equal opportunity community. People can choose to respond to or ignore comments. And we’ve got upvotes and downvotes to register our opinions on what is being said. I will be very surprised if we don’t resume some degree of equilibrium. Well, until the next crisis or huge controversy hits.This is a rough patch. Some really hard things in the air right now. Things that divide. We are all on edge. But we’ve been through controversies before in this community and survived.This is probably one of those times you wish you hadn’t made the commitment to read every comment.

          22. Donna Brewington White

            @fredwilson:disqus Pollyannas can be annoying too. That would be me.

          23. William Mougayar

            You could threaten to not serve them bourbon on sept 23rd :)but that might cause a riot … #badidea

          24. o



            You should stay open minded and let people have their say. If you start censoring you’re gonna’ chase people away.

          26. Peter Fleckenstein

            I’ve been reading all the comments here including this one from Fred. At first I got pissed off at you Fred for writing this. I thought “Wait a second! What does he expect when he rights a post about something we’ve been dealing with for decades. He can ban anyone he wants but he won’t (an admirable quality!) so what’s his problem. Then I thought about it for awhile.I can see where Fred’s coming from. I read AVC faithfully but I don’t comment. When I do comment it usually has something to do with a post Fred wrote about Government/Politics. I can see why Fred sees trolls. Sorry Fred if I contributed to your pissed offness.So, I’m going to start commenting quite regularly here on AVC unless Fred bans me. I get so much value from everyone here and it’s only right and just that I try and contribute to the community that gives me so much.Fred:1. if there’s people here on AVC that are off topic, perhaps an “OFF TOPIC” badge should be installed.2. If you write posts like this expect all kinds of people to respond. Yes, you and AVC are that famous and that popular.3. I support you on all the programs you listed here in this post. It’s too bad we let politicians bundle everything together. It’s time we stop that from both sides.Thanks Fred.

          27. fredwilson

            i like an off topic badgei am going to start replying with #offtopicthanks for the suggestion

          28. Peter Fleckenstein

            Your welcome. I’ll do my best not to earn one.

          29. ShanaC

            we rarely ban people. And your posts seem fair. So welcome and have a drink at the virtual bar….

          30. Peter Fleckenstein

            Thank you Shana. Cheers!

    2. Dave Pinsen


    3. fredwilson

      and why gun safety folks get a little weary when their political opponents do the same. a pox on both.

  7. pointsnfigures

    I am a big fan of immigration. America is the best country on earth and we should try and give everyone a chance to experience it if they want. Gary Becker had a tremendous piece outlining why immigration is good for America, and what we should do about it. (for some reason Disqus won’t let me post the link,… Becker has been talking about this for a long time, and I was at a lecture when he first introduced his favored policy back in 2007. (… We ought to charge for it.It makes perfect sense and takes all the politics out of it.Once I had an entrepreneur ask me to write a letter saying I was interested in his idea in order for him to stay in the US. I was empathetic, but couldn’t because I really wasn’t interested. What a terrible spot he was in.America is a shining light on the hill for freedom. People run toward that light. We need to figure out the most efficient way to let them in. It’s good for all of us.


      “America is the best country on earth and we should try and give everyone a chance to experience it if they want”I think that instead we should set an example for other countries to follow. Why limit the *greatest* to just America? Spread our methods around the globe!!!

      1. pointsnfigures

        We do. They don’t follow them because politicians are unwilling to cede control. The Russian Constitution reads similar to ours. It’s the execution of the document and the DNA of the people. No one has America’s DNA.


          I thought all humans had basically the same DNA. Geez, now this mind control machine isn’t going to work. lol

    2. ShanaC

      the link is there, fyi

      1. pointsnfigures

        I typed them out-they won’t let me cut and paste

  8. kidmercury

    “So if you want to see all of these good and important changes to the immigration laws in the US, you have to get behind comprehensive immigration reform. That’s the way the deck is stacked in this debate. It took me a long time to understand that and although it is illogical, it is the way it is.”the next step is to realize that in order to get what you want on virtually any issue you have to fight terrorism. want immigration reform? how are we going to solve terrorism. want to end CISPA? needed to fight terrorism. this is especially true with all the internet stuff as cybersecurity is the next big thing in the war on terror.i suspect the need to fight terrorism will be resisted at all costs. as you wish.”the US is a land of opportunity and diversity and it is our greatest strength that we allow good people to come here and build a life, a career, a family, and a company.”according to the OECD, the US is 27th out of the 34 industrialized countries in income equality (Source). you know why they call it the american dream…..because you have to be asleep to believe it (george carlin).

    1. Richard

      The Era of Mandacity or Openness?

  9. tom dorsey

    Lock down the boarders tighter than Harry’s Hat Band then pass reform. Not until.


      I don’t know. I think it’s more fix yourself before claiming to be able to fix others. After we’ve fixed our own problems we can help others. But, when you own backyard is dead grass don’t tell your neighbor how to take care of his.

  10. JimHirshfield

    I support all of those initiatives But it’s sad how politics is like cable TV…addicted to the bundle.Great that you’re involved and on top of this. #WilsonForCongress

    1. Leapy

      #WilsonForPrez 🙂

    2. LE

      #WilsonForCongressKeep in mind that the best politicians are the ones that can persuade others, make deals, haggle and trade, play the game in order to achieve their agenda. Make deals with the devil. Stand the heat in the kitchen. Not at all the same as having the best ideas or being the smartest. Also pander to the people, common folk etc. Be populist. Suck up when necessary. Trade favors. Have the right degree of dishonesty. All of that. Tolerate and smile when someone says something idiotic. Attend boring events. Talk out of two sides of your mouth. What am I leaving out?I’m always amazed when people think that because, say, Elizabeth Warren is so educated and compelling a speaker that her great ideas, gentle nature (if you believe that I’m not saying that just what appears to be the popular opinion in the press) is enough that she will be able to make significant change when she has just one vote. She still has to get others on board. Doing that is not something you learn at Harvard (that said she could be able to do that I”m just saying it’s not something you learn in school).

      1. Jim Ritchie

        Power and money corrupt, politicians are generally a corrupt bunch. Best bet to limit spread of corruption is only allow folks to swim in this foul bath for a short amount of time, i.e. Term Limits.Bloomberg seems like one of the most corrupt as he “paid off” NY City Council to change term limits, supports un-constitutional stop & frisk searches, and now wants to “change” our rights and freedoms, all in the name of “security”. A good discussion going on Hacker News on this.Bloomberg Says Interpretation of Constitution Will ‘Have to Change’ After Boston Bombing”Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.” -Ben Franklin

        1. LE

          You can think of the Bloomberg “payoff” (as you called it) of simply his version of what people with money are able to do instead of using civil disobedience to get what they want.People are allowed to riot, march and do a host lawful and unlawful things in order to achieve goals. So Bloomberg is doing the same thing to achieve his personal goals and beliefs. In order for it to work he still has to convince many other people, more people than he can reasonably expect to bribe.In the end I guess that’s the balance that we have in this country if you want to call it that. If it were strictly a numbers game the people without money could easily band together to take some of the money from those that have it (because they are out numbered). The people with money use their money to retain balance and control. It’s like “good” bacteria.

          1. Jim Ritchie

            Yep, I agree politics is a money game.

  11. Richard

    Steve Case has been working this issue for two years.

  12. MM

    Great that Congress seems to be moving (or plodding) forward on this and the tech community is vocal. What is the story with CISPA? Seems like much less commentary and opposition this time around.

    1. HistoryInAction

      CISPA again passed the House recently. With immigration the new issue of the day in DC, discussion and activism on “cybersecurity” will be quiet until something breaks through the DC bubble (and then panic!!2!) or immigration gets resolved

  13. Steve

    Fred, last time we debated a policy issue here, it died in the Senate (to its eternal shame). Hopefully this common sense law will not meet a similar fate.

  14. Kirsten Lambertsen

    This was always the tension I saw while I was a busy activist. The desire to make progress vs the fear that passing something would take the pressure off of getting everything that is really needed.The folks who had been around the block many more times than I had knew that when something incremental gets passed, everyone feels like “mission accomplished” and the focus gets lost.The histories of women’s suffrage, ending slavery, civil rights, ERA and LGBT equality are all very instructive on this. But we do eventually seem to do the right thing… eventually (oh, except for ERA).

    1. JimHirshfield

      #upvoted.”busy activist” – Are there any other kind?

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Ha! Well, I’d have to own up to being an “armchair” activist now.

      2. andyswan

        Agreed. I tend to believe non-budgetary items are either amendment-worthy or they shouldn’t be tackled yet at the Federal level.

    2. LE

      “I had knew that when something incremental gets passed”Exactly the reason (in a similar way) why an industry needs to get in front of an issue before the government gets involved. By handling some of the issues that are problems you get to select what you feel is important and stave off more draconian measures. The people in charge feel that something is being done and they back off and can point to the effort and what has been done to quell the critics. Same reason that in many cases it makes sense to take the first negotiating position or be the one to propose terms on write the initial contract.”every feels like ‘mission accomplished'” is a powerful concept. Similar to what I mentioned the other days about “parenting theater” where parents do the obvious things that they feel makes them good parents…..

    3. ShanaC

      When were you an activist – why did you decide to become an activist

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        For about four years, starting around 2002 or so. I was still living in Northern California.I had slowly been becoming more interested in how our system works, starting with the Clinton administration’s effort to reform healthcare policy.By the time 2002 arrived, I happened to read an article in the Bay Guardian about an effort in San Francisco to pass a resolution at the board of supervisors stating that San Francisco did not support the doctrine of corporate personhood.Learning about corporate personhood, activated me. It was an “aha” moment for me. I became involved with the people I read about in the Guardian. I gave talks, appeared on local TV, helped pass a resolution in Berkeley.I met fascinating people during that time. It was mind-expanding 🙂 It was also all-consuming. So when I see people protesting and marching, I always feel immensely grateful to them for doing what I can’t/won’t make time to do.

        1. ShanaC

          interesting story

        2. alcibiades

          Question – have you ever disagreed with the leftist consensus on a major topic?

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            The left is famous for having trouble reaching consensus.I think what would surprise people is how much all of us actually agree on. It’s the two-party political system that has invested in making sure we don’t understand or focus on that.

      2. Fernando Alcoraz

        you choose to raise impertinent questions all the time ..i think you should go work in Mexico on H1B1

    4. fredwilson

      so you think the incremental approach actually gets more done over time? that seems to be the approach the gov’t is taking with deficit reduction

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I was thinking about that, too, after leaving my comment.The “mission accomplished” mentality, I think, is about issues that have an active social movement associated with them. When voters have come together to put pressure on gov’t to do something, they tend to feel like they’ve accomplished the mission no matter what gets passed.So I think it’s more a question of actual or perceived urgency. Some things are best approached in a cybernetic fashion, over time, adjusting to results as you go. But some things cannot (or it’s felt they should not) wait. (Like, an incremental approach to slavery or civil rights or Pearl Harbor.) And I would imagine that many people feel immigration reform is in that category.I don’t perceive deficit reduction as being that kind of issue – but I could be wrong.Either way it takes a long time, as we know.Working with government is really complex. As Pee Wee Herman said, it’s like a sweater you’re trying to unravel that someone keeps on knitting and knitting and knitting…

  15. Peter Fleckenstein

    I’m all for immigration reform. I’m all for the programs that Fred listed in his post. The people who bring up Boston as an excuse to defeat this bill are idiots.Who here has actually read the bill that the gang of eight released last week?I have and this ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ bill is an abomination of the highest order.It will not only hurt the good programs listed above… it will ultimately destroy them.The enforcement part of this abomination is at the top of the bill. It is there for only 1 reason… So that Congress, both sides, can say – “See, enforcement first!”.Oh how I wish that were the case! But in reality, enforcement gets a 5 year honeymoon and taxpayers get a $4.5 Billion bill for just this part! What if it doesn’t work out? Congress then creates a commission, confiscates another $2 billion from taxpayers and implements new recommendations because they nor the DHS could get their act together for the first 5 years.There are over 400 exemptions in this bill. The majority of them will be determined by one individual. Some of these are unreviewable (yes that’s literally in this abomination. No one, absolutely no one, will be allowed to review these decisions made no matter how bad or good they are.The Gang of 8 tells us in no uncertain terms will illegal aliens be given amnesty or anything else. It’s true! Through exemptions they will be re-labeled as Registered Provisional Immigrants and then they can receive whatever they want.This is nothing but a framework. There is no true reform in this bill.I would like nothing more than to see all of the programs Fred listed passed and implemented. But I won’t support this abomination to do so.It’s unethical and immoral to Americans and future generations, to immigrants that have been on a long path to citizenship, and to the ones caught in this nightmare.

    1. pointsnfigures

      The sausage is being made. Politicians have an economic incentive to inject politics into every bill being passed. Don’t ever think they are altruistic angels, every one of them have an agenda no matter which side of the aisle they sit on.Meanwhile, those of us with our own economic incentives wait…..

      1. Peter Fleckenstein

        You have your own economic incentives?!! You must be part of the oppressive, greedy 1%-ers ;-p

        1. pointsnfigures

          In this environment, I am becoming one of the 99%ers!

    2. JLM

      .How dare you confound this discussion with facts!Actually reading the Bill?What kind of anarchist are you anyway?Well played!JLM.


        Here’s a point to consider. When you see 25M+ people unemployed and even more just not working. Thousands being tossed out of their homes because of foreclosure due to job loss. Entrepreneurs struggling everyday to get funding. How can you turn your back on those fellow Americans and worry about immigration reform?

        1. JLM

          .I agree more with you than you do with yourself.The big issue in the US economy is jobs.Gun control. Immigration. Have nothing to do with jobs.This is all just a head fake that takes our emphasis and focus off jobs.JLM.


            You’re real close to getting asked out on a date. BTW, I dig on chicks. So, I’ll be bringin’ a couple women with me on our date. lol

          2. JLM

            .I am happily married so far above my head as to be an astronaut. Why she married me is one of the Mysteries of the World. Truth.I married the Prom Queen who got the law degree and presented me with two Perfect Children. She is a great skiier, cook and body surfer.Still looks the same as she did 43 years ago when I first fell in love with her.Her only flaw — she does not like to fly in little planes with me.It will have to be a double date.JLM.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            Jobs? Did someone say jobs?


            Huh? No can’t be. We con’t care about the 25M+ unemployed. They don’t count.

          5. Donna Brewington White

            I wasn’t meaning for that to be a sarcastic comment.

        2. alcibiades

          What we really need right now, in this economy, is 11 million unskilled immigrants. If you don’t see that then you just don’t get it.

      2. Peter Fleckenstein

        Reading is Fundamental. Thank you JLM.I do believe this is the very first “Well played” that I have the honor of receiving. Printing and framing now! 🙂

    3. David Clarke

      That’s 4 ‘abominations’ in a pretty short piece– quite the argument from personal incredulity. A moment on Google indicates that your specialty appears to be tendentious summaries of legislation you dislike, presented from the high moral ground of ‘having read the bill’. I’m with @awaldstein:disqus on this: this community is bimodal and unappealing on social topics. I’m off to watch Barcelona thrash Bayern Munich at the beautiful game.

      1. Peter Fleckenstein

        I called the current bill for what it is after reading it in it’s entirety. Having ‘read the bill’ is in no means a ‘high moral ground’.The community here is amazing and I respect everyone regardless of their point of view, including you. I read the bill in it’s entirety because I want to be as fully informed as possible. I owe that to myself, this community, and others.If by ‘tendentious summaries’, you mean I point out the failure of Congress to fulfill their sworn Oath to uphold and defend the Constitution then I am guilty as charged and gladly so. I’ll also point out to you that in my original comment here I state that I fully support the programs that Fred endorses. So, I really don’t know how I am being biased.Your reference to taking a moment on Google is about my reading the original bill on ObamaCare back in 2009 and tweeting about it.In my reading, analysis, and tweeting I used statutory interpretation, statutory construction, and personal insight. I was attacked, ridiculed, lied about, questioned about my service to this country as a Marine, and even received death threats.The results you saw in just taking a moment on Google are purposeful distortions and machinations of my tweets. I’ll be more than happy to point you to the national organization who originally attacked me and then admitted that what they used was not my original tweets and analysis. They used outright misrepresentations of what I wrote that were emailed to them by ‘unmentioned sources’. And in fact admitted that the emails received were changed from my original tweets and writings.The overwhelming majority of what I wrote has, is, and will be, coming true about ObamaCare… That it has nothing to do with healthcare or insurance reform and that it is a monstrosity. Additionally I also tweeted extensively about alternate solutions that have already proven to work and are actually true reforms.Thank you David for your comment which allowed me to expand upon my thoughts and what I have done.P.S. Bayern-Munich: 2 vs Barcelona: 0… but there’s about 23 minutes left. Enjoy,

      2. fredwilson

        me too

  16. Luke Chamberlin

    “Give me your engineers, your programers,Your huddled neckbeards yearning to breathe free,The JavaScript ninjas of your teeming shore.Send these, the moneyed, the privileged to me,I life my lamp beside the golden door!”

  17. ErikSchwartz

    The place I was consulting last year about 60 engineers total probably 40 of them were H1Bs. They in general were of very average skills, certainly skills easily found in the US. The difference was they were being paid shit. How else could you be paying a senior engineer in San Francisco $60k a year these days.I also heard some ugly rumors of the CTO using visa status to threaten people.

    1. William Mougayar

      Aren’t most of these H1B’s going into larger IT departments as part of “outsourcing” services sold by the outsourcing services providers? I used to work for a large IT outsourcing firm that had thousands of these. Truth is that most smart young individuals that are graduating with software engineering degrees aren’t going to go work for a large co’s IT department anymore. The large co’s have these shortages.Although the talent exists elsewhere, the smart talent won’t just work anywhere.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        “Truth is that most smart young individuals that are graduating with software engineering degrees aren’t going to go work for a large co’s IT department anymore.”Hence a depressing of wages and conditions in large co’s IT and fewer Americans being interested in a career in STEM.


        I’m so glad to say that everyone I use when outsourcing any projects are 100% not H1B. And they are true professionals in the field of software development. No average skilled slave labor here.This all equates to better results and a happier team.

    2. ShanaC

      this is not cool


      So now that the truth is out. What are we gonna’ do about it?

  18. LE

    “graduate degrees in STEM come stapled with a visa”If STEM is so valuable then why isn’t there the equivalent “comes stapled with” (incentive) for US students that pursue that path?In order to provide Physicians to rural areas there is some program where they get some or all of their tuition paid for by the government.If the government wants to provide incentives in a particular area to fill a shortage then they can extend the benefits of that to their own citizens as well.That said has there been any projections as far as what will happen when all these people flood the market with these skills and exactly what the future demand/supply will look like? I’m remembering a time when nursing was hot and then not and then hot again. Or as we are seeing now with lawyers where there is an extreme oversupply and unemployment, wasted time, money.

    1. ShanaC

      there is undersupply of lawyers actually for everyday legal work – the reason is that it is too costly for someone who obtains a legal degree, using debt instruments, to serve the underserved. Rural areas now import DAs – let alone representation client side.

      1. LE

        “undersupply of lawyers actually for everyday legal work”Can you give some examples of the legal work that is actually needed by these people as far as “everyday legal work”?I don’t have anything to back this up but my feeling is that the underclass, as a result of not being able to communicate that well, end up needing a lawyer to do anything that requires communication and that things end up turning into legal events that really aren’t.I’m not saying there aren’t legitimate reasons for attorneys but I somehow feel that some people resort to using attorneys anytime they get what the feel is the shaft from the system or the man.What do you define as “everyday” legal work?

        1. ShanaC

…this article discusses what is happening – apprently in some rural counties you can’t excute basic stuff like transferring a deed, wills, and disputes, let alone criminal representatationProbably the killer line is”Carla Sue Denis, a drug-rehabilitation counselor in town — addiction is a raging problem — said people seeking a divorce and other legal matters sometimes consulted her since she knew how to do research on the Internet and download forms.”I would hate to see what happens if she filled out a form wrong during a nasty custody suit, especially because she isn’t barred.

          1. LE

            Thanks for clarifying this.So there is not really an under supply of lawyers for everyday legal work as much as there is an under supply of lawyers that want to work for poor people in less than desirable places.I mean I wouldn’t want to live or work in those places quite frankly. Not to mention the fact that even if an attorney wanted to do that (same as doing something humanitarian overseas) they would still have to get “buy in” from their spouse, family etc.Only way to solve this problem is by dangling money. As a single woman would you want to live in a town with that few people in that location?

          2. William_JD

            You mean “licensed”, not “barred”.

  19. JLM

    .The issue of immigration is going to be a very difficult issue if the proponents cannot agree to secure our borders as a requisite pre-condition for dealing with the balance of the issue.This is like repairing your water damaged wood floors without first stopping the leak. It begs for more trouble.The border security issue in border states, like my beloved Texas, is all about immigration but is also about the notion of crime spilling across the borders, drug trafficking, the import of terrorism, slave trading, sex crimes and other unsavory implications.It is incomprehensible that we have not secured our borders going all the way back to the Reagan amnesty.I would personally oppose any immigration reform of any kind absent that pre-condition being fulfilled and yet I would support almost all of the issues that Fred Wilson raises if that condition were met.JLM.

    1. LE

      “It is incomprehensible that we have not secured our borders going all the way back to the Reagan amnesty.”Among other reasons it’s not an acute situation. It’s a “fa schelpta crenk” (roughly yiddish for “long standing illness”). So were squeegee men pre Giluiani.Look at all the manpower they raised to catch one guy in Boston and how everyone is a hero. (Not discounting the fact that there were other benefits to catching the one guy by the way I just am marveling at the manpower spent in that area as well as the media attention and focus).

      1. JLM

        .The border security issue in border states is a Federal funding v local funding debate with everything from acquiring ROW to the actual construction being held hostage.The Feds have done almost nothing though they have repeatedly promised to do everything.It is a serious problem that has been leavened just a bit because of the US recession and the dearth of jobs available. Also, unemployment in Mexico is about 4%.JLM.

  20. JLM

    .Many of the immigration reforms which are suggested by the tech community are valid considerations if the word “American” were simply substituted for the word “immigrant”.Case in point is the desire to increase STEM graduates as a base line consideration.We do not need to import talent to strengthen the rolls of STEM grads, when we can achieve objectives through incentives for American college students.Why are we not doing this?Many would suggest that employers are lurking in the weeds preying upon immigrants — even STEM grads — to work at wages lower than those being demanded or paid to Americans with similar credentials.I personally don’t believe there is a shortage of appropriate talent that cannot be fully met with simple market driven incentives and performance.If the demand is really for “cheap” labor — which is the objective of almost all immigrant labor initiatives from construction labor to temporary farm labor — then the American employer needs to pay market driven wages and deal with it.JLM.

  21. Dave Pinsen

    This immigration bill would be a disaster if it passes. The proposals you consider “no brainers” deserve a little more thought. Take, for example, H-1Bs. UC Davis computer science professor Norman Matloff’s research debunks most of the tech industry’s arguments in favor of them. H-1Bs are simply a source of cheap labor for the tech industry. On average, Matloff has shown they are less talented than American workers, and, by lowering incentives for smart American students to enter STEM fields, they may be reducing innovation here.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      This exactly.If the point of the H1B is to bring in engineers with talents that cannot be found domestically then on average H1Bs should be paid MORE than American workers not less.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        And as I noted in a recent post (“Some Potential Winners And Losers If The Senate Immigration Bill Becomes Law”), Facebook’s lobbyists got a provision inserted into this bill to enable them to avoid paying higher wages for foreign labor.


        I think first companies should be made to prove the talents can’t be found domestically. Then they can use H1Bs. Here’s the catch: Since I’ve found companies getting around the proof by making job descriptions impossible to fill. They sould also be made to *outsource* domestically before using the H1B.Just because a company can’t find someone who will fit some crazy description or work for a penny a day doesn’t mean we don’t *have* the talent available!

    2. kidmercury

      i don’t dispute this is largely about getting cheap labor though i don’t think it follows that it will reduce innovation; rather it will increase innovation. companies that have less expensive labor can do more and thus innovate more. eventually the immigrants who come here and are getting ripped off will start their own businesses to stop getting ripped off. the only dark side of cheap labor is employers using visa status as a threat.i am not commenting on the merits or lack thereof of this bill, as i don’t know it well enough……though i’m generally skeptical of the ability of a corrupt government to do much of anything properly until it sufficiently heals itself of corruption.

      1. CJ

        All governments are corrupt because people, as a whole, are corrupt. That aside, innovation is a secondary concern to a functioning 1st world economy and we can’t have that if we’re constantly pushing wages lower and engaging in cheap labor practices domestically as well as abroad.

        1. kidmercury

          lower wages means lower costs; lower costs means lower prices. lower prices means more consumption; more consumption means more prosperity (in the material sense, at least). thus, lower wages results in more prosperity; competition can work out the kinks if wages ever get too low (i.e. they’ll start their own businesses, unionize, employers will have incentives to pay more as competition heats up, etc).

          1. CJ

            Except lower wages doesn’t mean lower costs, just less people who can afford goods and services. The only reason we’ve been able to follow that curve is through massive debt and we saw with the last bubble collapse how well that works over the long-term.Lower wages means less prosperity and in a crooked capitalist society you can’t count on the market to even things out. It’s hamstrung.

          2. kidmercury

            lower wages does mean lower costs. countless small businesses go to china to manufacture stuff because it is the only way they can be cost competitive. the income inequality issue stems from monetary policy (banks create money then speculate with it and it trickles down from there) which is different than wages. if high wages created prosperity, why not make minimum wage $1 million? we’d all be wealthy millionaires then.

          3. CJ

            Henry Ford paid his workers more so that they could afford to buy his products, he didn’t pay them less and then lower the price of his product.

          4. kidmercury

            that may have been what he said, although more likely he paid them more because that was what was needed to get them to come to work and do a good job. also, henry ford is a first mover who wanted to make a quality product. i.e. i’m sure the designers of gucci clothes make more than the designers of the cheap crap i bought at kmart make. if kmart designers want higher wages, there are only two options: (1) kmart grants them their wish and in doing so increases their costs, which they pass on to customers some of whom will no longer be able to afford them; or (2) those designers quit and go work for a higher quality brand that targets a more affluent and more demanding customer.

          5. Dave Pinsen

            “Lower wages results in more prosperity” – that must be why the low-wage Vietnamese are more prosperous than high-wage Germans.For a guy who thinks outside-the-box when it comes to political conspiracies, you’ve swallowed the Economist/Tom Friedman globalist conventional wisdom hook, line, and sinker, even when evidence against it is staring you right in the face.

          6. kidmercury

            vietnam and other low wage places are not prosperous because of their monetary policy. monetary policy is the trump card in economics, if you mess that up you mess everything else up. i am not a tom friedmanite because i can almost guarantee he completely overlooks the monetary policy issue, or worse yet, draws the the wrong conclusions when he does consider it.with all this said, bad economic policies like artificially raising wages will only make matters worse.

          7. CJ

            So what you’re saying is that inflation is fake?

          8. kidmercury

            no, i’m not saying that. i generally say closer to the opposite.

          9. CJ

            Break it down for me Kid, I’m lost here. This is what I got, what am I missing.1. Low wages.2. Low costs.3. ????4. Profit. (prosperity)

          10. kidmercury

            Let’s say you have $10. you want to buy a t-shirt. i can make it for $10 here in the US or $5 in china. same quality.the guy in china can live on $5. when he can’t, he’ll get another job.let’s assume i make the same amount of money per shirt either way. so if i sell more shirts, i get more can get 2 shirts. i get 2 sales. a chinese guy gets employed.there are other problems but they are related to monetary policy. however, artificially increasing wages does not solve the monetary policy problem; bad policy on top of bad policy results in even more problems.

          11. CJ

            This excludes the issue of people having enough money to purchase the good to start with, continuing to have that money as their jobs are removed or their pay reduced and the Chinese man wanting to exist purely at the $5 level. You can’t sell a $5 t-shirt if the only people with $5 to pay for it are the people making it.

          12. kidmercury

            that’s a monetary policy issue. people have no money not because wages are too low but because prices are too high. prices are too high because of inflation. if inflation is corrected, lower prices means greater consumption (except for status goods).


            “or $5 in china”You can get t-shirts from china for about 35 cents each. You’re paying too much.

          14. CJ


          15. baba12

            Hmm. So eventually immigration comes down to profits and how big the margins are.Having skilled and unskilled workers (documented and un-documented) in the U.S. helps the business generally.The profits are shared with the small number of shareholders.With communications becoming faster and cheaper it makes it possible to outsource/off-shore work to lower cost centers of production.In the last 40 plus years U.S. businesses have slowly moved manufacturing and thereafter some lower level service jobs (customer support aka call center) to places that have appropriate skills and lower costs. They have been able to do this and increase their profits which have not been shared beyond the few. Through the last 40 plus years the voices of those who have been displaced have not been heard effectively. As more higher skilled jobs get off-shored like legal research work or quantitative analysis ( wall street) etc and those peoples start to be heard louder it is possible that we may see some changes to protect the turf. Until we get a comprehensive set of rules and regulations around workers rights, environmental protections in place worldwide we will always find places to exploit and maximize profits.If tomorrow there is a way to off-shore USV and lower the operating costs so that the people who have invested in USV are able to get a higher return, I would guess many of the USV partners would not like that and or will offer to lower their management fees or their share of the profits.I do hope that when technology which is agnostic to humans or nations is able to replace high priced lawyers, doctors, wall street investment bankers etc who at this moment want free markets and have in many ways managed to stink our democracy up, will realize it is too late and they will have to join the Revolution and be part of the proletariat. We would have come full circle then.What I see happening is eventually wages will stabilize over time lower cost centers and higher cost centers shall find a equilibrium and the reason to use one cost center over the other will be determined by other factors besides cost. That scenario can happen if workers in low cost centers have the level of protections and the environmental laws in those places are the same as they are in the high cost centers, i.e. China’s, India’s of the world will have the same set of standards for worker rights and environmental laws that are there in Western Europe and the U.S.. We are very far that scenario and so for now lets continue to exploit al we can anywhere and everywhere.It is the right thing to do for the last “n” number of years. Why change?

          16. Dave Pinsen

            Prosperous countries generally have high wages. I can’t think of one that doesn’t offhand. And they generally have policies in place to support those high wages. I don’t agree with everything Thomas Geoghagen writes in this piece, but I think he is closer to the truth than you here:Germany, Sweden and France ignored the advice of the Anglo-Americans, the Financial Times elite, the banking industry: Contrary to what they were told to do, they did not wreck their unions.And it was the high labor cost that pushed those countries into making higher “value-added” things. Where is Germany competitive? It’s in high-end, precision machinery, made by people with the highest skills. It’s in engineering services. People look at Germany and say, “What about the German unemployment?” But no one in the United States ever says, “What about the German labor shortages?”Even in 2008, precisely because of “globalization,” Germany had a serious shortage of people able to fill high-skill, high-paying jobs, especially engineers. In the United States, engineers complain they can’t find work; many of them just end up in sales. In the union-free, lower-cost United States, we don’t create the kind of jobs engineers can do. Germany’s problem? It has too many such jobs. It’s our whole globalization thesis turned upside down.That leads to a seeming paradox: Higher labor costs can make a country more, not less, competitive. In many ways, the United States and the UK got out of manufacturing because their labor costs were too low. I have spent my life watching plants close in Milwaukee and Waukegan, where skilled labor was paid $26 an hour, only to reopen in Georgia and North Carolina, where it was paid $8 an hour. While still fighting over severance two years later, we get the news: The company is bankrupt. The products it makes so cheaply are now crap.

          17. kidmercury

            all these people ignore monetary policy. that is to economics what ignoring 9/11 truth is to geopolitics, or what ignoring extraterrestrials is to spirituality/evolution. to use a less kooky example, it’s like analyzing a chess match and ignoring where the king and queen are. any conclusion is going to end up being hopelessly misguided.prosperous countries have strong currencies. the US dollar is in a state of decline and that is why the US has to resort to things like being a source of cheap labor. if one wishes to reverse this trend strengthening the currency is the solution. general wage levels are a by-product of monetary policy, as are most economic matters.

        2. awaldstein

          The idea that all people are corrupt is just not reality.Building laws like building policies that focus on the corner case is invariably a bad idea. It’s like making your shop a lock down to protect against the small percentage of people who steal.Don’t buy this. I don’t write laws but I’ve built many companies, never with the focus that my customers were immoral or trying to cheat me by their very nature.

          1. CJ

            I didn’t say all people are corrupt, I said people, as a whole, are corrupt. There are lots of good people but you’ll never get all of them into the places where they’re needed. End result, you get crap people in some of those places and those people ARE corrupt.Government can’t be anything but a reflection of us and no one is perfect.

          2. awaldstein

            Disagree.Most people are good. Most people are honest, Humanity generally is good.Some people and groups just suck.The general is what matters and that who rules and policies should serve and protect them from the outliers and crazies.

          3. CJ

            Do you live in the same place I do? Corruption is not rampant here (this planet), because most people are good. If so, it would seem to reason that most people are both good AND stupid for putting all of the bad people in positions of power.

          4. awaldstein

            I’m more careful with words and labels.Good or Bad. Stupid or Smart. Life is all about grey.I know I am remiss when I don’t get more politically involved. Stupid…not so.

          5. CJ

            My point isn’t to label but to point out that we can’t be a world of mostly good people where it just so happens that all the bad people get put into positions to do incredible damage. If that’s the case, the good people need to figure out why they are such horrible judges of character.

          6. awaldstein

            Gotcha.Somewhere in this the discussion turns to those who run. In most elections I’ve voted for (with few exceptions), it was a choice of who was better, not who really was best.

          7. CJ

            It’s always the better of the selection, the problem in the US is that the selection panders based on issues that don’t really matter to the health of the country but give people a hissy fit (abortion, gay marriage,etc).

          8. awaldstein

            Disagree…core issues like abortion and gay marriage are directly related to the health of the country.Health is not simple the deficit. Life is not good if finances are well managed and personal rights abused.

          9. CJ

            We’ll have to disagree there, I see them as BS fringe issues that serve to keep the people divided and remove their focus from the real things that could actually show a measurable difference in our society.

          10. awaldstein

            Right to choose. Right to marry whom you want. BS?Yup, we disagree at our very core.

          11. CJ

            You misunderstand, I’m completely and totally for those things. I am also for those things not being the deciding factor in every election for the last 20 years.

          12. awaldstein

            That’s not what your words say.”I see them as BS fringe issues that serve to keep the people divided and remove their focus from the real things that could actually show a measurable difference in our society”They are either BS or not, important or not.To me they are critical components of our freedom, to you it appears they are not.

          13. Dave Pinsen

            Agree with you. Malcolm’s comment strikes me as that a young man trying to appear wiser by assuming an air of all-encompassing cynicism. You can be too naive and you can be too cynical. Reality tends to call for something in between.Most people aren’t bad by nature. They do tend to respond to incentives though. Systems set up with the wrong incentives can bring out the worst in people.

          14. awaldstein

            Agree that good people can do bad things.I just know that little is black and white. Experience and knowledge when best applied is poise. At least that is what I aspire towards all the time

    3. ShanaC

      Still, we should reward people who are from foreign countries and educated in stem – I just don’t think H1-b1 is the answer

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Why should we “reward people who are from foreign countries and educated in stem”?


          Yep, figure that one out. We’re always shitting on our own hopefuls but falling all over ourselves to make other coutries look bad by *rewarding* their people. Let those countries reward their people and take the credit for being a progressive country.

        2. martinowen

          Duh! You reward people because they do useful work for you. As an nation of immigrants you guys perplex me – you display little knowledge of your own history. Its time we encouraged a few more loony protestants to leave Britain.

        3. ShanaC

          because we’ve acculturated them as americans -we’ve turned them into americans and then say “boo you” which strikes me as strange

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Shouldn’t we make sure that folks like you have their pick of jobs first, before we import more competition? Half of US STEM grads aren’t getting STEM jobs now.


      “H-1Bs are simply a source of cheap labor for the tech industry.”Not always. I think the issue really is that we should exhaust our own resources first. Then look elsewhere second.

      1. fredwilson

        we have two open jobs for every software engineer in this country. i am doing everything i can to create more locally, but its not enough. sheeese!!


          Then we’re in luck because I have software engineers wanting the work. Get in touch with me and we’ll fix this problem!

        2. PhilipSugar

          That is exactly why it’s not a zero sum game.

        3. Jeffrey Hartmann

          I personally think there is a huge opportunity here for everyone and we definitely need to open up to immigrants, but I also think that the HR process in our country has broken down in a lot of ways and the right professionals and engineers are not grown on the job but companies want blue unicorns that can ‘hit the ground running’. I firmly believe we could fix a good amount of our open jobs problem by having a different attitude towards talent, and fostering company cultures that value employees and treat them well. Right now there isn’t the proper incentives on either side for people to grow into linchpins. Companies want the mythical engineer who knows some combination of tech stack that only exists at that company on the day they start, or some sales professional with a proven track record selling their product to their unique customer base.We need more engineers, we need more immigrants, and we need more companies and employees that value and respect each other. It is definitely not a zero sum game, and if we treat it that way then we all win.

    5. PhilipSugar

      I promised not to get into political arguments but I am a liar.The reason why H1-B’s are cheaper is EXACTLY because of the current situation.I want a raise of hands of those that have hired somebody on an H1-B before we start discussing. Just like gun control laws. Tell me you’ve bought a gun or hired on an H1-B. My hand is up.Under the current situation you can be a big company or fairly big company and hire an H1-B for way under market rates if you desire. Why?? Because they don’t have a green card.Basically after completing a STEM degree an foreign national who we educated needs to get a sponsor. When they get a sponsor then you basically have them as a slave if you so desire. You do all the paperwork and get them hired. If you fire them they have to leave, if they quit they have to leave, if you go out of business they have to leave. Close as possible to being on the plantation.So small companies can’t afford this and for the reasons I stated H1-B worry about small companies. Big companies look at it like a huge sweatshop. Have a whole personnel department to hire these gals and until they earn their freedom which is getting a GREEN CARD, you can pay them below market rates. If you gave them a green card out of school none of this would happen.The only possible solution is not to allow them to attend U.S. Universities. That is satire and a point I will not even go down the road of discussing.


        If Fred would give me the funding I need for a startup. I could hire a bunch of slaves to make me a bunch of money. That’s sounds pretty cool. Fred?

      2. William Mougayar

        I worked for a company who had a few thousand h1B’s. To put things in perspective, there are only 85,000 of them per year, so it’s not really a huge number.US companies that hire H1B’s directly or indirectly benefit from the lower costs of that labor. H1b’s doesn’t fill a labor shortage gap really. It fills a gap for that price point.

        1. PhilipSugar

          You prove my point exactly. If they had green cards that would not be possible and it’s what people resent. I am just amazed any immigrant would go through the process and tons are choosing not to and going back to their countries to compete and not pay US taxes

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Philip, even if they had green cards, if you bring in enough workers in a particular field, you will lower the wages for that field. Supply & demand applies in labor markets too. George Borjas has quantified the effects of this.

          2. PhilipSugar

            We’ll have to agree to disagree. That is the classic zero sum theorey. I’d argue the more you have of knowledge workers the more they get paid. That is one reason an engineer in San Fran makes more than one in Demoines

          3. Dave Pinsen

            I think tech workers get paid more in San Francisco because there are more tech jobs there, not because there are more tech workers there. You have to consider both supply and demand.As I said, there is empirical data on this. Here is a link to George Borjas’s summary of the research:…A relevant excerpt:Classifying workers by education level and age and comparing differences across groups over time shows that a 10 percent increase in the size of an education/age group due to the entry of immigrants (both legal and illegal) reduces the wage of native-born men in that group by 3.7 percent and the wage of all native-born workers by 2.5 percent.

          4. Jeffrey Hartmann

            Dave I think that there are more tech jobs precisely because there is a greater concentration of talent in that area. If there is an influx of knowledge workers in the short term there might be a small dip in wages in an area, but over the mid to long term more talent has the potential to create more value for both existing and new businesses. The addition of more workers tend to build synergy over time and allow bigger and more complex problems to be solved. While these bigger problems aren’t always more profitable, they often are and as an area builds up a set of companies chasing big dreams the labor market for knowledge workers will tend towards a shortage in supply.While I have much less experience in other domains, I believe this to be true for many other jobs as well. I also contend that immigration will have less of a negative effect if we remove structures that allow for foreign workers to be taken advantage of and abused. If you give immigrant workers freedom to pursue any job and don’t give companies perverse powers over them, I bet the lower of wages in the situations where it happens will take care of itself. When people feel powerful they tend to make better decisions for themselves then when they are powerless and in a corner, at the mercy of someone else.

          5. William Mougayar

            Yes and No. Most of these H1B’s are used by the IT outsourcing companies who hire people to fill the outsourcing needs of large US companies IT departments.

          6. PhilipSugar

            No. What people resent is big fortune 100 company says how many fte’s does that buy me for how much. Tell me William been on that sales call? I have. It happens every day. Not the way I operate

          7. William Mougayar

            I’m saying this is just a reality today. Of course, I have talked to Big Cos CIO’s & for many years. Most Fortune 500 companies IT depts have outsourcing contracts that include h1b’s in the delivery teams. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, it’s the way it is. H1b’s primarily filled that manpower gap for the outsourcing firms a release valve for labor arbitrage, otherwise it drives their price up. I know this from direct experience, and I will say no more on this topic.

      3. HistoryInAction

        Philip, one expert on the subject I’ve spoken to says that the bill includes green card sponsorship portability. That expands on the America COMPETES Act allowing for H-1B portability (but not green card sponsorship).Combined, both should effectively counter the market forces that keep H-1B wages suppressed for just the reason you list.

      4. Jeffrey Hartmann

        I completely agree that the current situation is totally because of the current laws. If we take away the Green Card leverage that companies have over their foreign workers, the market and the workers themselves having mobility will solve the problem of people getting paid less. I have posted several times before on immigration issues here and on Brad Feld’s blog, and I firmly believe that immigrants are what make this country great (actually we are all immigrants to this land, even the Native Americans came over a land bridge). My fathers family came from German and Czech immigrants who came through Ellis Island and my mothers family came over from Scotland and England a little earlier. My wife is Brazilian, and my son is a dual citizen. I am an immigrant, and everyone else in this society is as well. We can not forget this, and we should celebrate this deeply and loudly. We also have more then enough opportunity here for everyone, each new immigrant is a potential customer for countless services, families to rent and buy our real estate, and customers for food, financial services, etc. More immigrants == more jobs, not less. Immigration is not a zero sum game.What makes immigration policy so perverse is that we have forgotten this fact. The statue of liberty has a inscription calling for all those yearning to breath free for a reason. They are what make this country great. If we reorganize and fix these problems, much of the arguments as Philip points out become moot and will fix themselves. If H1B workers were given mobility between jobs, the ones that were good wouldn’t be taken advantage of by anyone. We have these situations because of crazy rules and regulations, simplify the immigration process and remove the companies power from the equation and the gaming of the system ends.

    6. Reykjavik

      There is a lack of young cheap US tech talent, but not tech talent in general. Lots of 40+ yo developers out there who most start-ups or high-tech companies sniff their noses at (and most of these folks would work for a decent wage and don’t want management titles). There’s no way that someone as old as the CEO’s dad could be a good coder, right? In most environments where I’ve been, older coders kick the asses of the younger kids. Sad that age bias is causing the technology industry to import more cheap youngsters.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        If memory serves, Matloff (the UC Davis prof I quoted in my first comment) noted that H-1Bs tend to be younger on average than American workers. All things equal, younger workers tend to be cheaper. So while age discrimination may play a part, there’s also th quest for cheaper labor.

    7. fredwilson

      clearly i disagree. but you have the right to share your opinion here at AVC and always will.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Appreciate that Fred. As I said after your gun control post, the diversity of political opinions in your comments is rare in the blogosphere, and reflects well on you and the community you’ve built.BTW, I stopped by YieldMo yesterday and signed up for a test campaign.

    8. HistoryInAction

      One point I’ll make in arguing against is that startups aren’t tech. Startups are a feeder for tech, but we branch off into a lot more industries than just tech—increasingly, all of them re: “software eating the world.”And startup salaries are booming. It’s why you’ll note that Fred put H-1Bs last. Green cards, merit-based entry, startup visa? All of these things promote innovation because there’s no cap to success in the startup world. Add more ingredients, and the market drives funding that combined equals world-changing success.

  22. Artemus69

    Pro-immigrationists want us to focus on the outliers – the Andy Groves and the Vinod Khoslas – and to ignore the average or typical abilities of the immigrants thatwould enter under “comprehensive reform”. How many Andy Groves does it take to compensate for 10 million high school dropouts? It’s not that hard to screen people for their potential productivity. I say that if you score at the 90th percentile or higher on all three sections of the SAT: welcome to America; please feel free to move in next door to me. Otherwise: sorry, please stay in your own country.


      Hmm… I think you’re onto something. Maybe we shouldn’t just turn people away because they’re not in the 90th percentile. People who score good on standardized testing tend to be sheep of low creativity. Leaders tend to score poorly on such things. But, it is a good way to get some top notch workers.

      1. Artemus69

        Agreed there isn’t a perfect correlation betwen test score and success, but we don’t have the resources to conduct an in-depth interview with every potential immigrant, and besides such a process would soon be abused.

  23. jodi_NL

    If my home town of LA hadn’t been turned over the past three decades via unending immigration into a place that is nearly unrecognizable to me I’d think your suggestion wasn’t so bad.


    “which involves putting many of the immigrants who are already here on some sort of path to citizenship”Why always with pushing people to do something? If they don’t make the effort themselves to get on a path to citizenship then let them leave and enjoy their lives somewhere else.Also, given recent horrible events, are you sure we should be opening up to more immigration?! We already have all the people we need to get anything done that needs done. Most of them don’t have anything to do because we have ~50% unemployment (non-participants).Your logic is confusing Fred. You want to put forth effort for gun control which has nothing to do with keeping people safe. But then you want to bring more people into the country when we’re having problems with them attacking us. Are you not happy with your fellow citizens? I know some of the people who live near me are terrible people who harm kids with drugs and other things. But, are we as a country really so bad that we should give up on each other?


    Let’s change the subject.So Fred, I have a new idea for a startup. Where can I get some seed money for it? I’ll need some programmers and some sales people. So first thing is payroll money.



      1. fredwilson

        i don’t want to change the subject

  26. matthughes

    Bring it on – we need more smart people and hard workers.

  27. JLM

    .The impending immigration bill is really, at its core, a competition between the Democrats and the Republicans for a robust voting bloc which can be created from the whole cloth. It would be noble to suggest otherwise but at its core, this is an exercise in voter creation.In that competition nobody really cares how it works. They care only about not offending the illegal immigrants or otherwise “losing” the competition.The bill itself creates as a first step a complete and absolute amnesty — perhaps it might be better called Green Card Lite. This is an irrevocable residency status.For folks like Marco Rubio (a formerly promising Republican rising star, I am told) to suggest it is not amnesty — that is exactly what irrevocable residency status means, ya’ll — is nuts.Green Card Lite allows Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPI) to stay in the US until the entire program of the immigration bill is acted out, enacted and enabled and implemented.This is like getting to eat your dessert first, getting seconds on dessert and getting a free coupon for the entree and another dessert while the cooks are making the entrees.The cheating will be rampant. Remember these are folks — illegal immigrants — who have already demonstrated a wholesale disregard for the law. They have engaged in felony identify theft and the fabrication of false official documents for starters. They have also likely engaged in theft of services having tapped into the social safety network.To suggest that this will be any different than the actual experience with such lawlessness as was engaged in under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act’s Special Agricultural Worker program is nuts.We have seen this movie before and the last reel is bad. It has a bad ending.This program allowed illegal aliens who were in the US to provide ag services to apply for a protected immigration status. Many did. Of course, many were NYC cab drivers — who did not know the difference between a rhutabaga and a kholrabi — who mass produced applications which were not checked.One of the World Trade Center’s original bombers was a recipient of such immigration status.The big enforcement hurdle? The presentation by DHS of a “plan” to secure the southern borders of the US. Not all borders and not an actual funded program. Just a bunch of paper containing a plan. Nothing more.The immigration bill is a misguided attempt to create a political advantage or to negate a political disadvantage by engaging in a flight of fantasy.Like the 1986 amnesty program, it will not solve the problem. It will simply create a new future problem.It is a shame.JLM.

    1. JLM

      .Let me be clear — I am in favor of much of what Fred Wilson suggests in his blog post. I consider them to be primarily economic issues.The problem is that it is a bit like cooking a hamburger by setting one’s house on fire with the burgers on the stove.Sure the flame eventually kisses the beef but the attendant destruction is hardly worth the end result.JLM.

      1. LaVonne Reimer

        You do have a way with words!

    2. Aaron Fyke

      Hey JLM, I like your posts because you usually cut through the BS, but I’ve got to call you out on some things. “One of the World Trade Center’s original bombers was a recipient of such immigration status.” – So? That’s just one person (and not to be dismissed, but it isn’t a reason to affect policy). The real question is, “how many people were admitted, and what was their ultimate contribution?”.In all seriousness – we know the SSN of everyone admitted under the 1986 program. Can’t someone run a big plot of taxable income for this group and tease out average wage vs American average? Wage growth? Education level (the IRS might not have that one)? I’d love to see some data on that group, and it seems that it would be easy enough to find. Do you know of any publications that have this?This is a data problem, and I’d love to see some plots which might give us all some insight.

      1. JLM

        .The point I was making has to do with the design of the program. The ability to get the benefit BEFORE having to undergo the investigation which should substantiate eligibility.Make no mistake — these are criminals and even in the context of non-immigration related crime they are still one of the most lawless populations in the US.The fact that a NYC cab driver was able to get an agricultural exemption should make any reasonable person question the wisdom of a program which offers dessert as the first course.The fact that the illegal immigrant, criminally fraudulent applicant then went on to bomb the World Trade Center should highlight the implications of a poorly designed program.The fact that the Boston Bomber the Elder could have and should have been deported for being out of the US for 180+ days and for having been in a part of the world that is a hot bed of radical Islam is not a small consideration to the 4 dead and 170 wounded in Boston.He was neither a citizen nor a green card holder. He was the child of a person who had been admitted on the basis of political asylum.The FBI had him on their radar screen and he should have been deported.We have to enforce the laws we already have. Immigration is not a right, it is a privilege which is extended by our government in the interests of our Nation and for no other reason.If Visa can administer your debit/credit card in seconds, why can’t ICE and the FBI do similarly?JLM.

        1. Aaron Fyke

          Your comment about Visa is a great one. There should be the tools to do this analysis quickly. One serious problem is the inconsistency of things. Case in point. If you have a green card, you are required to apply for a different travel document if you going to be out of the country for more than 1 year. Except for the other publications which say 6 months. Except for the discussions with the border security, who say it is 3 months.So, why is a policy like that inconsistent? It also makes enforcement ridiculous because there are inconsistent cases. I’m not sure where that comes from, but I bet rules like that made it possible for Bomber #1 to be out of the country and then return.Edit: Just saw that you said that he was not a green card holder. Now I’m just WTF?

          1. JLM

            .Bomber the Elder should have been deported. They had him dead to rights.The Russians tipped the FBI to his whereabouts, associations and radicalization (hate that word) and the FBI failed to act.Two thirds of the 9-11 henchmen had overstayed their visas. They should have been deported.We have the right tools. Our craftsmen do not use them correctly.The stakes are too high to ignore routine enforcement. Let everyone re-apply as a failsafe provision. But get them out of the country now.JLM.


          I’ll tell ya’ Jeff. I don’t know if you’re involved with help to build Austin. But, you sure to make people want to move there. It sounds like an awesome all ’round ballparks and apple pie place.

        3. weltwind

          The bombers: After claiming and getting asylum, for themselves and their kids, the parents went back home. No longer afraid of persecution. The mother left the U.S. because of a store theft arrest. They left in the U.S. two bombers and two orphans. Doubtful anyone is looking for the govt official who granted the asylum application. Asylum is a noble undertaking but plagued by fraud.

          1. JLM

            .Not to get all black helicopter on you but understand that our government is actively dealing with terrorists on every level.Osama Bin Laden was once upon a time our boy. He was fronting for us v the Russians in A’stan. We are understandably a nation of changing vital interests.There is an Executive Order authorizing the wholesale elimination of terrorists. Since the Bush administration.These rough men who sometimes use the wrong fork with shellfish and who work in the shadows are keeping us safe in ways that do not sound very nice at baptisms and First Holy Communions.Consider the possibility that our government sometimes grants asylum to folks whose presence on US soil sometimes makes them easier to keep track of, exposes their networks and who are being used as both a false flag and a double agent.This is a dangerous and complex game and it is going on daily.There is a lot more to this than meets the eye particularly when one considers that the Russians tipped us off to this situation.JLM.

      2. weltwind

        That is an excellent idea. Journalists of old would have researched and posted that data. Now it is probably not PC.

  28. Morgan Warstler

    I support it, BUT, if it fails…Our response must be “screw comprehensive,” and those that demanded it.The response is not FIRE the guys who refused to do comprehensive.This is essentially a R / D fight, where more of the R’s are HS friendly and if we’re wiling to let the D’s old HS immigration hostage for LS immigration, then OK, but the D’s better carry the ball over the line.BTW, I have a plan that solves all this EVEN Pinsen will support it!http://www.morganwarstler.c

  29. Nat

    Our entire immigration process is backwards in many ways – one not mentioned here is the fact that there is no incentive for American companies to issue work visas for foreign students and we lose talent that we as Americans have heavily invested in. Case in point: my roommate got a B.S from Cornell, Masters in Engineering from Stanford and is now 1 of 40 students chosen to be in Harvard’s PhD program for Aeronautical engineering specializing in unmanned flight. To bad no one will hire him because they don’t want to sponsor his visas and is leaving to go back to Asia.

  30. Aaron Fyke

    Why is no one discussing the merit-based system? I think that’s the biggest benefit. Find out what is a net contributor to the country and admit people who are over that line. Done.I think one of the problems with the current system is that *doesn’t* happen, and then the system is slow and tedious.

    1. JLM

      .Bureaucrats are not comfortable with anything based on merit — or is that too obvious?JLM.

      1. Aaron Fyke

        Oh come on! If you said, “bureaucrats suck at determining merit” then I could agree with you, but I can’t imagine that they are uncomfortable with it. Here’s what Australia does – you have a degree? That’s worth 10 points. You’re under the age of 35? That’s worth 5. Oh, you are a nurse? That’s worth 7. Add everything up, rank and sort. Done. I believe Canada does something similar.Now, is it possible that there would be massive fighting about what is more important? Possibly, but I doubt it. Or, there could be sweeteners for certain things. Rural areas finding it hard to attract doctors, and you are a doctor? Great, we’ll fast-track you if you work in Nebraska for two years. Maybe this would be impossible to enforce, however.I can’t accept that we just say, “Oh well, our government sucks”. That’s not good enough, and we shouldn’t given incompetence a pass. We’ve got a hot commodity (US citizenship), why can’t we sell it for the highest price (most skilled)?

        1. JLM

          .Not my style and not what I am trying to express. Not being “comfortable” is how a gentleman would express his misgivings as to one’s competence.Why do we need to attract talent through immigration and, in particular, through an incentivized program?We are a Nation of over 300MM, if we need a doctor in rural Nebraska we have a great number of rural medical training programs. Google it, there are a myriad of such programs.For almost any skill that one can identify as being “critical” to our national interests, there is a way to supply that talent in a domestic manner. Much of the STEM education is already being conducted on US soil.Why would we “sell” citizenship when we need jobs for our own people? We are at the current state of affairs about 25MM jobs short of our own needs.Immigration is at its core a jobs related concern.The simple truth of the matter is that if we had unfettered immigration, the entire world would move here. That’s exactly how we got in this situation in the first place.JLM.

          1. Aaron Fyke

            Good points. Politics is the intersection of economics and philosophy, I suppose. Thanks for the discussion.

    2. weltwind

      Precisely. But that sounds more like socialist Canada, with national health care and all. Far too rational.

  31. Stefano Buliani

    The debate here is really interesting. I complained about the recent immigration reforms in the UK (cooling off period for skilled immigrants visas in-between jobs).As an entrepreneur I have no interest in cheap labour. The only reason why we look for immigrants is because we cannot find people with the skills we need. I’d hire an English person given the chance because it gets rid of the initial communication and settling-in issues, but I just can’t find the right people. I’ll pay an immigrant the exact same salary.What I’m saying is I’ll look into immigrants, and all the pain of sponsorship, bacause I’m looking for skills I just can’t find locally, otherwise it would make a lot more business sense to hire citizens of the UK.

  32. Richie Siegel

    I that immigration reform for tech is important, but there is a tendency for tech people to forget that the majority of immigration reform is for the lower end of the job chain. It makes sense the tech industry is partial to what they will benefit from, but to make it seems like Zuck’s is the only important part of the bill (like some of the tech industry has) is simply one sided.

  33. Guest

    The Startup Visa is actually detrimental to American Entrepreneurs. Here’s why:… Don’t support it.

    1. Aaron Fyke

      This is the same argument for putting up protective tariffs to protect US Steel or the auto industry. This is the same protectionism that shelters US companies from the rest of the world, while screwing over other US companies and consumers that want to buy the best goods at the cheapest price, not just what is allowed by the government. So, it sounds like you want to shelter US entrepreneurs at the expense of the US tech industry as a whole. The tech industry as a whole doesn’t give a rats where you came from, it just wants the best companies, making the best returns and hiring the best people to be located in the US. That’s fine to be protectionist, but generally we’ve done as well as we have BECAUSE we haven’t put trade barriers in place, and immigration restrictions are just another version of that.Personally, I think that tech investors will invest anywhere, so allowing immigrant entrepreneurs in the US doesn’t create a greater funding hurdle than would have been in place already. What it does do is increase the number of US jobs created by that VC investment.

      1. JLM

        .I am not disagreeing with you or taking issue with you but stating an interesting fact.Much of the VC money in the world is actually owned by pension funds, endowments, unions and others for whom the issue of jobs, employment, immigration and protectionism are quite important issues.They are not quite used to or comfortable with political speech and in many instances may be forbidden from using such funds for political speech. An unfair prohibition given such SC decisions as Citizens United, etc.What has not really happened just yet is that LPs have not yet roared as to how their money is being invested because it is being invested by financial professionals who may not be aware or sensitive to its actual origins.JLM.

        1. Aaron Fyke

          I know that some funds are targeting “ethical” investing, and obviously most not-for-profit foundations sell how their money will be used. Other than that, I figure that most LPs are just looking out for returns (maybe with a few caveats – nothing illegal, etc). I don’t know how much LPs want to use their financial clout as a platform – either I’m blind to it, or it doesn’t seem like that much. CalPERS has to have a lot of clout, but I don’t know what their message is.

          1. JLM

            .The notion that one has to forcibly append the word “ethical” to the verb “invest” makes me want to puke.All investments should be ethical. What differs is the character of one’s ethics.Tell the AFSCME pension fund that you intend to develop real estate using non-union contractors and see what they have to say about that.Money should be used to create targeted outcomes on multiple levels which are guided by those who make the investment decisions.Otherwise we all be investing in Mexican drug cartels, no?JLM.


            “All investments should be ethical. What differs is the character of one’s ethics.”Investments don’t make theirself. The people making the investments need to be ethical.

      2. Guest

        My concern isn’t so much about sheltering US Entrepreneurs. And even if it was, I don’t see how that would bother the US Tech Industry (which never acts as a unit, it’s too fragmented).I don’t want people that are not US citizens gaining access to this country based solely on whether they’ve received a domestic investment. Maybe it is protectionism. But really it’s the notion that foreign is so much better than domestic, which I’m not sold on.But if we go to other extreme, to Anarcho-Capitalism, what’s the point of having other countries? Why don’t just invade the whole world for their resources and make them subject to our jurisdiction? Then we fall into the debate of Globalism.Price can be an indicator of quality. Location matters. I want my beef to come from Texas, not Argentina. Yes it will cost more. I’ll have to get my Strawberries and Blackberries from Mexico until Summer, but I’m used to that. Yes, it is cheaper to outsource coding to India (or offshore in general). I’ve been told its the same quality code. The only issue is time zone and communication barriers.I’ll start buying into immigration reform once we fix our own issues first. Legalize Marijuana, Balance the Federal Budget, Abolish the Dept. of Education, no more govt-guaranteed student loans, no more Guantanamo Bay, and have the SEC hurry up and finalize the crowdfunding rules.


          “I’ve been told its the same quality code.”You’ve been told wrong!

  34. ShanaC

    I really want to just say one thing.All I want out of immigration reform is for my best friend to have the same choices as me.To stay, work for whomever she wants, marry whomever she wants, without the overhang of immigrationShe’s a nice person who will have 3? (bs,ma,phd) in STEM, but if she wanted to quit and stay in the US to become a fabulous restauranteur I don’t want to stop her just because she was born elsewhere. or if she doesn’t get a stem job here (which would be wierd) I don’t want her to miss my eventual wedding, and nor I hers, because she is out of the country.I wish I knew what to do, but that to me is the face of immigration


      I don’t even know your friend. But, I still want here to have the same opportunities in her home country as she does in the U.S. !The thing to do is for you and your friend to go to her home country and change it. Build an America in her country.

    2. JLM

      .I have a friend. PhD in aeronautics — literally a rocket scientist. Pretty good cocktail party line — “Well, yes, I AM a rocket scientist.”NASA guy for forever. Veteran, combat veteran. Bled for the Nation on a couple of occasions as a young man.Paid a lot of taxes. Raised a family. Solid guy.I want him to have the job you want for your friend. That is how immigration is supposed to work.All the Americans get jobs first and then we fill the NEEDS — the real needs — next.Why not?BTW, my friend is a member of U-6, the chronically under employed. Not right.JLM.

      1. Aaron Fyke

        But, what if Shana’s friend is a better restauranteur? What if she creates a chain of restaurants that becomes the next Chipotle, creating over $11B of market value and a ton of jobs? I’d argue that she should get that job over your friend. Free market economy, the power of a meritocracy and all that.But this is BS. Shana’s upset because she has a personal story. You’re upset because anyone who is PhD, NASA, veteran, family guy should *never* be part of U-6. And academic arguments fall apart when a real name and face are attached.However, economies are not a zero-sum game and I believe in creative destruction, as unpopular as Maggie Thatcher’s policies were. I just get real uncomfortable with protectionism, and the downhill slide which can follow.

        1. JLM

          .American citizens are entitled to certain rights by virtue of their citizenship and service to the Nation and having paid taxes.Folks who are not American citizens have no such rights. Period.Creative destruction is a concept which is a bedrock notion of capitalism. Capitalism is the basis of the American Dream. The Dream is an “American” dream.This is not protectionism, this is simply the basis of citizenship and capitalism. There are benefits to citizenship in a capitalistic system.Why not?The US government needs to serve its citizens first. They are the power behind the throne upon which government sits.For, of, by its citizens.JLM.

          1. Aaron Fyke

            Right, but what about all those Americans who didn’t get employed in Shana’s friend’s Chipotle blockbuster, because someone else, less successful, got that job (I’ve seriously moved into the abstract, and am no longer talking about your friend). Now we are trading one American’s rights vs another. I’d say that if someone takes one job from an American and creates 100 new ones, that’s the way to go. Now, is the government protecting the rights of that one American? No. They are protecting the rights of the 100 who got jobs. The government is for, of and by, all of its citizens. At any rate, it’s time for me to run off. Thanks for the discussion.

          2. Ryan Lackey

            I think the US is big enough that we benefit overall as citizens whenever someone 2-3 sigma above the current population immigrates. If we set a points-based immigration system, I’d be comfortable allowing everyone who meets that threshold to become a citizen (non-immigrant visas should be MORE restricted than citizenship…) Yes, even if someone is directly competing with me for a job.My problem is when we use family unification, refugee status, or willingness to enter illegally as the “points”.

      2. ShanaC

        I have other friends (and to extent, me personally) who are underemployed (I just don’t worry about it long term)I don’t think economics is 0 sum. I also think Schumpterian creative destruction is far more likely than a zero sum game. And I also have no idea what my friend will be like at 40 (well, for certain things, but not say, what job she will have, or who she will marry)The no idea part bothers me. With immigrants who are younger (under the age of 35) we have no real idea what they will do at all. Meanwhile, because of the way the visa system works, she’s effectively barred from whatever. Despite being here for over 7 years already, because she is on a student visa, she can’t even staert the process of applying for a greencard.Meanwhile, she’s effectively american in most of her outlook. At least give her the option of fully pursuing that course rather than thinking about it for years

  35. gorbachev

    This is how well it’s going:…I have lost all confidence of these old, incompetent, corrupt farts doing anything other self-serving crap.

  36. weltwind

    Currently, 75% of all immigrants are family, 5% are lottery, and 10% asylum (like the Boston bombers). This includes about 350,000 babies born to illegal immigrants each year (data from Pew Research Center). The system is as nepotistic and irrational as it gets. Almost anything would be an improvement.Personally, with a PhD from MIT (in STEM), 24 years of continuous legal presence in the U.S., 19 year career in aviation, and more than 100 US jobs created, and in one of the top tax brackets, I am still a “legal alien” with no immigration prospects (for the skeptics, the issue is the required US DOL certification – I am too highly compensated to get it; and yes, I have a lawyer). The current system is geared against the U.S. interests. If one abides by the laws, does not lie about persecution on their paperwork, is not from Mexico, does not have certain relatives, and is not a charity case, one has no chance under the current rules.

    1. Aaron Fyke

      Well said. Although I’m surprised that you are “too highly compensated”. Normally the only concern is that you are not paid LESS than the market (and therefore dragging wages down). If you are a highly compensated individual, that should be fine.I’m sure that you don’t want to talk about specifics on an internet forum, but I was under the impression that getting a green card was the major hurdle, not obtaining citizenship after receiving a green card. If you have a green card and are facing these issues, then maybe I’m wrong.

    2. JLM

      .Not to make light of your situation but will you be eligible for RPI/Green Card Lite status under the impending Shamnesty?You also could have gained legal status and citizenship by serving in the military for three years or marrying a cute girl from Dallas. Have you ever seen those cute blonde pony tail girls from SMU?I can feel the Karma of your situation. It will all work out well for you, I promise. Serious note, friend.If not, move to Austin, Texas and we will shield you as an American Sanctuary City.JLM.

      1. weltwind

        I am not sure about that, I think the ‘shamnesty’ may apply to recent STEM graduates only; and unfortunately, I am not illegal, so can’t benefit from that part either.

    3. weltwind

      Two clarifications: 1) on the DOL certification: The problem with being highly paid is that the company is supposed to advertise one’s job for a certain period of time, at one’s salary, but with minimum qualifications. That’s why the DOL certification tends to work at the beginning of one’s career but not later; 2) legal alien = no green card, only annually renewable visa (in my case, O-1). 3) per David C’s post, I would have about 115 points, whatever that means

      1. Aaron Fyke

        You’re on an O-1 and can’t turn that into permanency? WTF is wrong with our system?! That’s for Nobel Prize types! Those are the exact people who should be fast-tracked! Why do they even make O-1 people do labor cert? The whole point is that they are “extraordinary”. I shake my head…

        1. weltwind

          I don’t think that highly of myself, but yes, I’ve been on O-1 continuously since 1996, and it is not enough for permanent. The EB-1 criteria are different (“exceptional” vs. “extraordinary”, or something like that), and EB-2 requires labor cert. The irony is that most everyone else -family and lottery- gets very little scrutiny at all. Just not too smart for the country. I have stopped trying to find rhyme or reason.

  37. David Chouinard

    If you’re looking for more specifics, I wrote an exhaustive summary of how the bill affects entrepreneurs and graduate degree holders:

  38. alcibiades

    Call me when you have a bill that does those things without granting US votes to 11 million third world citizens.The Democrats have been holding out for comprehensive immigration reform because they know that the additional power of 11 million socialist voters will shift America permanently to the left. And the addition of 11 million low-skilled workers in an economy that is brutal for low-skilled workers will add more to the welfare roles, further increasing the Democratic parties’ voting base.

    1. weltwind

      They are not leftist votes. They are deeply conservative, religious votes. Once they are in thanks to the democrats, they will switch allegiance to republicans – on right to life, gay marriage, etc.

      1. alcibiades

        Somehow I missed all the free market governments in Latin America.Also, the Democrats are masters of race-baiting. Hispanics will vote Democrat because Democrats will convince them to fear and hate the majority.

        1. weltwind

          Good point. I was thinking socially. Political leftist, social rightists.

    2. Jeffrey Hartmann

      You were once an immigrant. Perhaps we should have never given you a vote, hell we were all immigrants perhaps we should just turn into a dictatorship since we are all unwashed masses and undeserving of any representation cause we are just filthy immigrants.You are quick to forget that these 11 million people came here to make their lives better, to build a life for them and their families, to spend and earn money, and to send their children to college. Don’t be so quick to judge, walk a day in their shoes and then come back and tell me how you feel. I have plenty of friends who are incredible members of the community here, and they make this country great by their contributions. Just like my ancestors, and yours as well.

  39. panterosa,

    I am late to this debate today, but it is timely.I recently promoted my assistant, to work with me not for me in a sense. After one year she is invaluable to me and an asset to my business. She is applying for a visa, and since she’s an artist, applying for artist’s visa. In promoting her, I said I would sponsor her H-1B if her artist visa fell through. Knowing other artists, she is listening to their cases of acceptance or rejection, and also talking to her lawyer. One artist went for H-1B, and that week I was at dinner with someone who said apply today, when they open, or she will miss the opening.Sure enough he was right. All this year’s H-1B’s went in a single day apparently. Last year in 2 months. The year before in 8 months. Next year in an hour?What’s going on with the great visa scoop? It’s like trying to get a preschool app from an unnamed NYC place where you call for an app and within the hour the apps are gone, and that’s that.This is ridiculous. Full stop.

    1. William Mougayar

      There are discussions about increasing the H1B quotas but that may or may not pass.

  40. jhl123

    I am creating my own biomed startup. Probably going to end up employing a couple dozen Americans. Honestly, its been difficult figuring out if the US is the best place to be set up. The team consists of exceptional individuals who have multiple job offers but have decided to work on the startup. Problem is visa’s etc for startups is incredibly convoluted process. In comparison its much easier to move to another country. (only thing keeping me here is the fact that I have access to some biomed execs from the biggest firms)

  41. bfeld

    I really hope we get it together / done this time in the US. It’s amazing how countries like London are building off of the ideas a number of us had going back to 2009 that the US can’t seem to execute on.For example, if you get into TechStars London, you now get a three year visa with a two year extension and path to permanent citizenship.


      ABS !!!!I’m lovin’ it.

  42. AJ

    If you support the startup visa, Stem visas, and more H1B’s, I think it’s inappropriate to come out in favor of comprehensive immigration reform while completely ignoring the main issues on the matter: 11M illegal immigrants and border security. Those are not trivial issues!

  43. Brian Andersen

    I for one am surprised that so many people think the US needs iphone game developers and social network “innovators” more than we need nurses, day care and other basic labor. It’s as if the VC community thinks that in the 21st century we are going to disappear into the matrix and let the machines feed us through tubes. There is no reason we should not have a job for every single person that is able and willing to work, regardless of where they are from.

  44. Kathy

    How quickly we forget…sad this is needed coming from a nation built by immigrants.

    1. fredwilson


  45. Ryan Lackey

    I’m having a hard time supporting the bill based on the (minor) tech provisions without understanding the rest of it.I do agree that the biggest single problem with the illegal immigrants in the US is that they’re illegal. The worst solution is to keep them in perpetual limbo with no legal status. I’m not sure if what the bill does is good enough, though — it seems to push for residency in 13-17 years, except for younger illegals, who via DREAM and other provisions would get residency or citizenship much more quickly.I hate huge bills like this; I’d far prefer we have separate bills for separate issues, so the legislature and public could exercise their powers effectively. I don’t think “increasing tech immigration” has anything to do with 11m illegal immigrants already in the country.

  46. chernevik

    The deck is stacked this way because we don’t have enough contempt for lawmakers who use their leverage over things everyone agrees about to extract concessions on things that aren’t so clear.

  47. eli

    1. STEM Green Card would be an immigration path for third world countries with socio-economic problems. Everyone these days has an undergrad or master’s degree from some college or university. They then work hard for a year or two to get admission from some no-name American university (thanks to the enormous number of them in this country). Once they get the GC, these people relax and may be even a public burden. These are not talents. This proposal is obviously exploitable.2. Merit-based immigration can be terrible if implemented wrongly. Take for instance the point system in Canada. You get 25 pts for language, 25 pts for a PhD etc. Who is gonna to evaluate the applicant and assign these scores? The old immigration officer lady can not distinguish between good, bad and fake qualifications. She assigns 25 pts to any Phd applicant from MIT or Washington State University (wherever they got their degrees from). So a whole bunch of third-rate and mediocre people get in easyly because USCIS cannot properly asses technical qualifications.The employment-based immigration currently in place in US is one of the best forms of the immigration as far as I can tell. There a group of technical people, specializing in your own field, interview you (and not a general immigration officer who has no idea what your research is about). To get sponsorship, you ought to be really good and convince this hiring team that you worth it.

  48. Jeremy

    A slate article on this bill mentioned the following economic policy institute paper:…I think it’s worthwhile to have some less biased factual data to back up this debate.n.b. This is not a statement of my belief or opinion on this issue, I don’t have a fully formed one yet. But I do think it’s important to have facts (backed by data) in any debate.

  49. Fitzgerald

    I got a STEM grad degree (in computer science) and I can say with 100% objectivity that I saw many other people (mostly foreign) go through the same program who had absolutely NO BUSINESS getting the same degree, but they paid the tuition so the school nudged them along (This was a CA state University). So until the schools are focused on the education and not just making money I think the visa stapled to a STEM degree is a bad idea. Fix Schools, fix priorities of education.. and all this “need” for immigration changes starts to go away.

  50. Michelle (The Stranger)

    Thank you for this Fred! I do think that way too much focus is given to the exaggerated and “romanticized” downside of passing the bill. The media likes to spotlight all the horror stories rather than focus on all the potential immigrants that would help the economy thrive.I’m not American, so I certainly share the frustration. I’ve been aggressively trying to relocate my startup to New York City. Whether you’re for or against the reform bill, the startup visa is a no brainer. We’d be creating new jobs, not “stealing” jobs or “mooching” from the system

  51. gorbachev

    Before anyone goes and supports, be aware that immigration reform is not all that group does.It appears it’s also keen on destroying the environment:

  52. andyswan

    Mobility is one of the critical pieces of liberty. Open immigration (as well as emmigration) is of paramount importance to that objective.It is truly a human right, and one that we should require of ourselves and any other nations that we do business with.

  53. pointsnfigures

    Interesting that Prop 13 that restricts property tax increases in California actually decreases mobility.

  54. PhilipSugar

    L1 is totally different. The arb on H1B is most if not all power is on employer. Frankly I think universities would be more selective if they realized the grad could drop them in a second because they had a green card

  55. Aaron Fyke

    Isn’t H1-B just 3yrs+3yrs? What happened in 2012 when you hit the 6 year mark? You are the face of why there should be a merit system.

  56. awaldstein

    You may be right Charlie and I wasn’t listening openly.Commenting fatigue may have set in.No offense to anyone of course intended.

  57. CJ

    That’s exactly it Charlie. Instead, those in power keep these issues alive as wedge issues to keep the voters distracted from the things we should be focusing on.

  58. CJ

    None taken, I never thought you were being offensive. The nature of this community is I perceive everyone’s comments to be without malice unless proven otherwise, not so in other places on the ‘net.

  59. CJ

    Education is probably the other one that I think needs more addressing, the corportist takeover of education isn’t helping the kids. In Chicago it’s a blatant money grab at the expense of the poor and otherwise disenfranchised.

  60. Dave W Baldwin

    @mlloyd:disqus is right. Basically we need to bring comprehensive computer to younger kids in schools to enable the basics of design/engineering in High School. Kids that learn a little bit of code in HS are not that well prepared for what is happening in real time, they just sit there thinking they are better while often their code doesn’t work. The answer to that delimna is not answered by instructors who have limited knowledge.On the note of sweat labor, there are openings for the basic entry of data all over. Wouldn’t it be wise to deliver more of our kids into that niche vs. the focus on celebrating the kid who can half ass code who will be going to the big school (not labor market) and the rest will go to nursing, automotive and so on?Big business (and little business) will always go for the most they can get for the least reward given. That doesn’t mean we have to obsess over it and be distracted with the usual politics.

  61. Aaron Fyke

    And then, in 2015, if all goes well and you get your green card, you can wait 5 years to become a citizen – you know, to prove you’re really committed to living here.