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Why We Need US Immigration Reform in 11 Charts

Earlier this year we outlined the 13 Major Areas in US Immigration that needed to be addressed if real immigration reform can have been said to take place. Since then the major US Immigration bill has been submitted to the US Senate for Debate and currently there are about 300 amendments and counting filed to committee in relation to that bill.

Many of these amendments are peripheral like small quota number changes, fee amounts and slight procedural changes but many of them are loony, insulting, sure to cause those might otherwise vote for to vote against and generally not actually addressing the fundamental need for reform. Senator Chuck Grassley form Iowa, who has previously submitted anti-immigration bills to the US senate, alone has submitted 77 amendments along with a desire to hold off debate until all the Boston Marathon Senate inquires are completed which essentially is a ploy to kill the bill entirely. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas wants to block any chance of illegal immigrants to gain permanent legal status in US and Senator Mike Lee of Utah has proposed that current undocumented immigrants in the US can only work in servitude roles likes babysitters, house-servants, cooks, etc. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont who general sides with the Democrats wants same sex couples to be recognized which is sure to mean most Republican support for the bill is lost and thus no Immigration reform at all.

Funnily enough all this comes at the same time as New York City’s council in considering a proposal that will allow all tax-paying residents for 6 months and longer in NYC be they US Citizen, Permanent Resident or Legal Visa holder will have the right to vote in Mayoral and Council elections in NYC.

It would help if all relevant stakeholders bore these 11 charts and points in mind when debating as to the fundamental need for immigration reform for the US economy and thus all Americans. (from Business Insider)

1. Foreigners Start More Business Than US Born Citizens Every Month



2. Foreigners Earn Patents At 3x The Rate of  US Born Citizens



3. Foreigners Found More High Tech Companies in Silicon Valley Than US Born Citizens



4. Immigrant Contribute Far More in Taxes Than is Given Back in Benefits



5. US Graduation of Engineers is Alarmingly Low vs. Rest of World




6. All Growth in Last 40 Years of US University PhD Grads Have Come From Foreign Born Individuals



7. US Has Over 1 in 5 of All International Students in the World



8. Only Tiny Fraction of US Educated Foreigners Go Onto Work in US and Contribute to US Economy



9. Process to Hire Foreign Works Takes A Long Time And Costs Thousands of Dollars



10. Only 7% of US Visas Issued Are Permanent Meaning High Skill Workers Leave



11. US Issues Less Visas to Skilled Immigrants (13%) Than Already Low Level 20 Years Ago



US Immigration Reform 2013

From Mark Zuckerberg to Marco Rubio, Immigration may be the No. 1 political topic of the year for the first time since 2007. However as veterans of that debacle know, just because both side of Congress and a broad spectrum of business and labor unions are pushing for reform does not mean either that anything at all will be done. Then even if anything does get done chances are it will be a poisoned chalice and only benefit foreigners a little while screwing them elsewhere.

Let’s have a look at the state of US Immigration today and what the 14 major pain points are;

1. 11 Million (approximately) illegal immigrants currently in the US

2. Further millions of US born children of illegal immigrant living in the shadows unable to legally attend most Universities and work

3. A backlog of 10+ years for many legal foreign workers who have followed all the rules waiting for a chance to get Permanent Residency unable to change jobs, accept promotions or pay raises

4. Huge unnecessary legal costs attached to most visa processes that serve no purpose other than profit Immigration attorneys

5. Wait times of 3 months to 2 years just to process single applications for basic visa changes

6. Artificial caps on visas like the H-1B visa when the growth sectors of the US Economy like Technology are desperate for more qualified talent so as to further grow their companies and thus the US economy and tax revenues as a whole

7. Foreign workers tied to companies unable to easily change jobs to accept better offers because of illogical transfer processes, costs and wait times

8. Immigration system that incentives doing things like sham marriages or illegal entry or overstaying b/c that is a far less costly and speedier route to living day to day in the US than following the rules and the long wait times

9. So many highly intelligent and talented US educated undergraduate, graduate and Phd students forced to leave the US and thus start companies and create technologies and wealth outside US shores. Immigrant founded companies in the US at large and particularly Silicon Valley has declined dramatically in the last 8 years

10. An ill informed American public that has little idea of how the US Immigration system works let alone the overall history of US Immigration and often the nature of their own ancestral entry and bases their opinions on factually incorrect cable news sound bites

11. The ability for someone to obtain a US work visa makes no sense as a company has to hire a person first and sponsor them which usually means being interviewed face to face. However the US actively discourages people to enter the US for the purposes of seeking employment

12. US Consulate processes for assessing foreign candidates are complex and often contradict processes and approvals received within the US and wait times to gain interviews are often many months making no sense for foreign students and workers to enter the country

13. Family visa sponsorship times for things like spouses of green card holders or brothers and sisters of US citizens are also 5-10 years or more

14. For non-immigrant visa petitions like H-1B, E-3, L-1, etc. there are only approximately 250 USCIS caseworkers to assess the annual 425,000 applications and growing as the economy is improving creating a major log jam for US companies and the economy

So the reality is unless a comprehensive Immigration reform assesses most, if not all, of these issues without attaching arbitrary conditions, criteria and costs it really is not fixing anything. All these things about paying fines, going to the back of line, tying things to borders security, adding more visas with obscure criteria or increasing caps without fixing current processes and wait times and continually incentivizing sham activities are just the status quo.

So while we are all the most confident we have been in many years for some form of Immigration reform we accept the reality that Congress will most likely miss the point, possibly fix one or two issues but then create five or ten more.