Senate Passes Measure Crucial to California's Economy

Joint Resolution from Senator Huff Urges Congress to Act on Legal Immigration
Monday, May 6, 2013

The State Senate took unanimous action today to pass legislation authored by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), which calls upon Congress to pass and the President to sign the bi-partisan Startup Act 3.0. All Senate Republicans are serving as joint authors of SJR 9 in a united effort to promote Startup Act 3.0, the strongest, most comprehensive jobs and high-skilled immigration reform bill on the table in Congress and the only proposal that creates the Entrepreneur Visa.

Recently re-introduced in the 113th Congress by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Startup Act 3.0 creates the Entrepreneur’s Visa for legal immigrants, so they can remain in the United States and launch businesses to create jobs.

“The Startup Act means job opportunities for California families,” said Senator Huff. “According to a white paper released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, it has the potential to add between 500,000 and 1.6 million new jobs for Americans over the next 10 years. California has one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation. California needs this opportunity.”

The current U.S. policy of issuing H-1B visas left nearly 40,000 highly skilled immigrants out of luck after federal immigration authorities received too many applications. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can only issue 85,000 H-1B visas every year. The agency was recently flooded with 124,000 applications in five days, forcing a lottery system that left some skilled immigrants shut out of the country.

Senator Huff’s resolution states: “The United States economy has been enriched by the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants from around the world. Foreign nationals residing in the United States were named as inventors or co-inventors in one-quarter of all patent applications filed in 2006. Fifty-two percent of Silicon Valley startups between 1995 and 2005 were founded or cofounded by immigrants, generating $52 billion in revenues and employing 450,000 workers.”

“Businesses created by high-skilled immigrants have long been a source of jobs for all Californians,” said Senator Huff. “Unfortunately, our old and unworkable visa policies are hurting our state. In the past seven years, the national rate of startups by immigrants has dropped to 42 percent. The number of foreign nationals with advanced degrees awaiting permanent residence status in the U.S. has grown to over one million. Passage of Startup Act 3.0 will begin to resolve the problems with our broken H-1B visa system and allow these people to create companies, wealth and jobs here instead of abroad.”

America’s success at importing high-skilled immigrants has not been lost on other countries. According to a report issued by the National Academy of Sciences, at least seven other countries have taken action since 2011 to attract and better support entrepreneurs. Countries like Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom are aggressively courting the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs.

“I’d like to thank my colleagues in the Senate for their unanimous support,” said Senator Huff.