June 14, 2011
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) today introduced the Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America (IDEA) Act of 2011, which allows American companies to attract and retain highly-skilled foreign graduates of American universities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. The IDEA Act would also create a new green card category for entrepreneurs who establish new start-up businesses, create jobs for American workers, and invest in the American economy. The legislation reforms the current H-1B and L-1B visa programs to better protect workers from exploitation and prevent the undercutting of American wages. The fees generated by these new visa categories and reforms would be invested in our educational system to better prepare American students for the jobs of tomorrow.
It makes no sense for us to educate the world’s brightest students and then ship them back to their home countries to compete against us. My bill would allow some of the world’s sharpest minds to stay in the United States and help us grow our economy.
For generations, immigrants have flocked to our shores to build their dreams, and in turn they have grown our economy and provided hundreds of thousands of jobs to their fellow Americans. Companies like Intel, Google, News Corp, Yahoo, and eBay were founded by innovative immigrants and now employ tens of thousands of people. More than 52 percent of Silicon Valley startups were founded or co-founded by immigrants, and immigrant-founded companies produced $52 billion in sales and employed 450,000 workers in 2005. Immigration has historically made our economy stronger. My bill embraces that history and encourages the world’s thinkers and doers to join us.
The bills primary provisions would:
• Help American companies attract and retain the best and the brightest workers by empowering them to seek green cards for advanced degree graduates in STEM fields from the most distinguished American universities.
• Attract new businesses by awarding green cards to entrepreneurs with significant venture capital funding who agree to open their start-ups in the U.S.
• Incentivize job creation by awarding green cards to entrepreneurs who create new jobs for at least 10 American workers. • Fix our employment-based immigration system by eliminating backlogs and streamlining regulatory hurdles.
• Protect American workers by increasing wages and reforming the broken H-1B and L-1 visa programs.
• Better prepare American students for jobs in new technologies by investing significant capital into improving STEM education in the U.S.
• Promote investment in the American economy by reforming the EB-5 Employment Creation Investor Program.