The U.S. needs to be more welcoming of startup founders, no matter where they were born. But the illegal immigration debate is so politically sensitive that startup founders, who create tons of jobs, get lumped in with migrant farm workers and the discussion sort of comes to a crashing halt there. Now is the time for us to rally, though, and avoid this type of situation. There is real momentum behind the Startup Visa Act, and there’s a realistic chance that, for once, our government can do something to actually help the innovation ecosystem in Silicon Valley.
On Thursday 20 or so Silicon Valley entrepreneurs will travel to Washington D.C. to talk with government officials about the Act, introduced last week by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), and drum up more support. Venture capitalist Dave McClure is organizing the trip.
The Startup Visa Act of 2010 would create a two year visa for immigrant entrepreneurs who are able to raise a minimum of $250,000, with $100,000 coming from a qualified U.S. angel or venture investor. After two years, if the immigrant entrepreneur is able to create five or more jobs (not including their children or spouse), attract an additional $1 million in investment, or produce $1 million in revenues, he or she will become a legal resident.
What can you do to help? Tweet @2gov supporting #StartupVisa exactly at 10 AM Pacific on Wednesday March 3rd (tomorrow). Your messages will be collected and delivered during the group’s visit to the White House on Thursday. They’re hoping to get 5,000 tweets. I’m pretty sure we can do better than that.