Poor Immigration Policy Threatens Bright Students

Posted by Taylor Haney on Tue, May 28, 2013

Please note the March for Innovation event discussed in the article below already took place. We wanted to share this great article by Jeffrey Bussgang, a general partner at Flybridge Capital, originally published in Mashable, in support of immigration reform and to keep the issue top of mind.

Recently, I testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce on the topic of immigration reform. I am a former entrepreneur turned venture capitalist at Flybridge Capital Partners and also teach entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. Like many others, I am struck by how our current broken immigration system is affecting our nation’s ability to compete on the global stage.

In my testimony, I called for the senators to support the legislation introduced by the Gang of Eight. I hope you will join me in this call to action and demand comprehensive immigration reform by going to MarchForInnovation.com. You can send a note to your senators to ask them to work together to find commonsense solutions for our immigration problems. Taking action will take only seconds of your time.

It’s no surprise I’m passionate about this issue. My father was an immigrant and an entrepreneur. He grew up in pre-war Poland and survived the Holocaust as a refugee and soldier. After the war, he came to America, earned his Ph.D. at Harvard, and then founded a small business that worked closely with the Department of Defense on major satellite communications and missile defense systems. Obviously, I’m biased, but there’s no doubt that my father is the kind of person we need to welcome to America and the type of entrepreneurial spirit we need to nurture.

My father and I both started companies in America. Many other immigrants and children of immigrants have done the same. According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, 40% of all Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, and 76% of patents issued to our university systems listed an immigrant inventor.

In my testimony, I recounted the stories of a few talented entrepreneurs, including one of my brightest students at Harvard, who are facing the very real threat of being sent back to their home countries when they really just want to build their companies right here in America.

There is something wrong with a system that does not create a path for foreign-born doctors and graduates of Stanford, Harvard and other top universities to stay in America to work.

Critics of the immigration reform bill worry that foreigners are taking jobs from Americans. The data shows how absurd that argument is in reality. In many of the high technology sectors that I operate and invest in, the unemployment rate is effectively below zero.

In fact, by 2018, a recent study projects that the U.S. will see a shortage of 230,000 qualified workers in the science and technology fields. So why are we sending the innovators of the world that we train in our universities away to compete against us?

Join me in the virtual march for comprehensive immigration reform. We need you!