International entrepreneurs urge U.S. to push immigration reform

All throughout the U.S., people have been vocal in their support of immigration reform and the rights of those seeking American citizenship. The broken immigration system affects much more than just family relationships among those separated by the border – it also has great implications for the U.S. economy and the workforce. Even in the international arena, businesspeople have been warning the federal government of the great negative consequences that could come from not taking immigration reform seriously.

According to The Guardian, one Spanish-born entrepreneur, Iñaki Berenguer, is raising his voice about the struggles of getting a visa to work in the U.S. Berenguer is currently working on his second tech startup in the U.S., having sold his previous one for $26.5 million. He has experienced the difficulty of obtaining American citizenship first-hand and through his employees.

The tech executive believes that the many obstacles of getting a visa – not to mention a green card – may send tech employees and their employers elsewhere. According to the source, many other entrepreneurs and industry experts agree, including Seattle-based immigration lawyer Tahmina Watson, who represents a large number of foreign-born tech employees.

“If the US continues to do what it’s doing, five, 10 years from now, it’s not going to be the leader any more,” Watson told The Guardian. “Is that what the US wants? The prosperity is not going to remain here, jobs are going to go somewhere else.”

In countries like Canada, Chile and Singapore, startup hubs are being erected to attract foreign entrepreneurs. This fact along with admonition from successful business owners may prompt the federal government to make haste on the issue of immigration reform and move to ease the process of applying for a visa, including the complexity of the paperwork and the lengthy waiting times.