Saturday, July 9, 2011

Twitter Town Meeting: Immigrant Entrepreneurs

President Obama responds to a tweet about Immigrant Entrepreneurs at the Twitter Town Meeting, July 7, 2011

MR. DORSEY: So back to jobs. We have a question from New York City about immigrant entrepreneurs: "Immigrant entrepreneurs can build companies and create jobs for U.S. workers. Will you support a startup visa program?"

THE PRESIDENT: What I want to do is make sure that talented people who come to this country to study, to get degrees, and are willing and interested in starting up businesses can do so, as opposed to going back home and starting those businesses over there to compete against the United States and take away U.S. jobs.

So we’re working with the business community as well as the entrepreneurial community to figure out are there ways that we can streamline the visa system so if you are studying here, you’ve got a PhD in computer science or you’ve got a PhD in engineering, and you say I’m ready to invest in the United States, create jobs in the United States, then we are able to say to you, we want you to stay here.

And I think that it is possible for us to deal with this problem. But it’s important for us to look at it more broadly. We’ve got an immigration system that’s broken right now, where too many folks are breaking the law but also our laws make it too hard for talented people to contribute and be part of our society. And we’ve always been a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And so we need comprehensive immigration reform, part of which would allow entrepreneurs and high-skilled individuals to stay here -- because we want to be attracting that talent here. We don’t want that -- we don’t want to pay for training them here and then having them benefit other countries. (transcript from

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