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U.S. immigration policy from a Silicon Valley entrepreneurial perspective
Kerio was founded 16 years ago in the Czech Republic. In 2001, our founder and CTO Martin Viktora moved to the United States with the dream of growing Kerio into a successful Silicon Valley company.
Martin’s move has led to the creation of dozens of high paying jobs in the United States, including mine as Kerio’s CEO. We can say that a Czech company "outsourced" its senior executive team and many other well-paying jobs to the US. Today, our 165 employees live and work in seven different countries across the globe. We have created wealth in the U.S. and every country in which we operate.
So is U.S. immigration policy reform going to enable more driven and smart foreign entrepreneurs, engineers and students to continue creating wealth and jobs?
In June of this year, Republicans seem to have recognized their party's need to support rational immigration reform if they ever want to win another presidential election. Democrats tasted the possibility of a long-term majority for their party. The Senate passed an immigration reform bill on a bipartisan 68-32 vote. Typically, when Congress agrees on something, it is grounds to be very afraid. This time may be different.
Both parties have good reasons in their political calculus to take on their internal anti-immigration interest groups, even if for cynical reasons. Democrats are looking for anything to change the subject away from ObamaCare, while many Republicans are publicly seeking to improve the image of their party. But if Congress doesn't act soon, immigration reform will likely be shelved until after the 2014 elections. The time to act is now.
There is actually a lot to like in the current proposal:

The 'Path to Citizenship' is remarkably fair and balanced. The 10-15 year time horizon is the key here. No politician's re-election will be affected for many years. This gives both sides the courage they needed to craft a deal.

Lots more spending on border security. Something both parties can love!

H1-B high-skilled visa expansion. The need for more skilled foreign workers is critical.

Fixing the broken family visa system. It's just common decency to allow families to be together.

Farm & temporary worker visa program. Political sausage making - ugly but necessary.

Enhanced employer compliance. Higher costs for small business, but probably the only way forward.

At Kerio, we strongly support the proposed compromises as a whole, even where we disagree with some of the details. Our self-interest certainly supports the expansion of the H1-B visa program and fixing the broken family visa system. We support the principle of attracting and retaining the best and the brightest (and their families) from around the world.
The usual argument against freer immigration policy is based on keeping U.S. jobs for Americans, assuming that skilled foreign workers and their families will take these jobs and decrease economic opportunity for U.S. citizens. These false assertions ignore the contribution of people like Martin and companies like Kerio to the US economy. Change always creates winners and losers, but the net result is undeniable: the free, lawful movement of labor across borders creates opportunity and wealth for everyone.
Immigration to the US over the centuries has been an even greater success for our country and our society. Even the massive, virtually uncontrolled immigration during the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century was a great thing for our country. Ellis Island was essentially organized chaos. Was it easy? No. Did it create winners and losers? Yes. Was it an unqualified, stunning success for our nation? Yes.
Anyone who argues against that is probably ignorant of history.
The situation today is certainly much more complex. More points of entry, modern travel and easier access to our borders, combined with the threats of terrorism, drug smuggling, etc. requires much greater border security and enforcement. Therefore, dramatically improving our border security is an absolutely essential prerequisite for the other changes contemplated in the bill. It appears that, unlike in the 1980s reform, the bill recognizes this need and provides for full spectrum improvements in border security.
The proposed legislation isn't perfect by any means, the guest worker program is particularly poorly thought out. But on the whole, we need to get this legislation passed by Congress.
Lady Liberty taught us to welcome the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free to our shores. It is a shame that many of our representatives in Congress have forgotten this message.
Let's help them remember it! Please consider passing a message of support for U.S. immigration policy reform to your Senate and House representatives.
Original article available on our blog.
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