PolitiHacks Digest: Week of 18 February

“And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.”
President Obama, State of the Union

Three Things You Need to Know:


  1. Vivek Wadhwa debates Rep. Luis Gutierrez over immigration reform strategy at TechCrunch
  2. Startup Act 3.0 reintroduced (PandoDaily)
  3. White House draft immigration plan leaks

What’s Going On in DC: 


Rep. Gutierrez comes to TC; Chicago founders to reciprocate

Chicagoan Luis Gutierrez is the top Hispanic Congressman, and he leads the Democrats in the House for immigration reform. He and Vivek Wadhwa disagreed over the right strategy to break the status quo. Winning here means not only picking smart policy that fixes problems but passing it, which needs 60 Senators and 218 Representatives.

To continue the discussion, I’m organizing Chicago founders to meet with his staff soon. Elected officials respond when residents come talk to them because they represent votes.

Email me for support to meet with your local Representative. Here’s why you should.


More visa for more founders in the new Startup Act 3.0

The Startup Acts are designed to promote entrepreneurship, and one major component is creating a startup visa. Previous versions were restricted to only workers (H-1B) and advanced tech (STEM) graduate degree holders, which were too limiting to be effective.

The new version is great, expanding the visas include to undergraduates and recent grads. Within a year, incorporate a business and raise $100,000. Prosper and your visa becomes a permanent green card.

The next step forward is to get this implementation in a bill with traction ( Digest 1-30).


Steve Case tells Senate Judiciary: Startups Drive Economic Growth

The Senate Judiciary Committee oversees immigration rules, and they opened discussion about proposed reforms on Wednesday. Steve Case, the founder of AOL, told them that fewer foreign entrepreneurs are bothering to deal with the US immigration system.

(TechCrunch reported on the rise of and difficulties experienced by these ‘glomads’)

These Senators will get the first opportunity to edit or block proposed reforms, so they should be top targets for founders to talk with their staff about our immigration issues.


Startups in State of the Union; Missing Details from the White House Draft

The President has repeatedly supported both a startup visa and more green cards for highly educated individuals. The State of the Union signals and prioritizes the Presidential agenda for the next year. It’s good that startups recieved two mentions in it.

Congress is often too overwhelmed and staff too inexperienced on too many issues, so complex bills are frequently drafted by the Executive Branch. In this case, the difficulty is getting enough votes (politics) rather than complex issues (policy), so the White House was planning on waiting for Congress to act. Whoops.

I’m still waiting for details to see if startup visa was in the draft.


Tracking CISPA: Introduction by Leaders with No Followers

Unusually, CISPA was only introduced by its most powerful supporters, without a show of strength, unlike SOPA.

However, these two cosponsors ( Glossary) are the majority leader and minority ranking member, meaning they have the ability to quickly advance the bill to the floor for a final vote. In one example, a bill had 12 cosponsors (3%) and passed with 96% support.

My guess is that since the sponsors are expecting opposition and know they can bring the bill to a final vote, they want to hide their strength rather than publicly disclosing it. Think trade secret vs. patent, since a cosponsorship by definition is publicly declared.

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