The New Colossus...What Happened?
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
How far backwards we have gone. Immigration debates of any sort are now routinely bogged down with a plethora of accusations, recriminations and political attacks, no longer filled with hope and promise. The ethos of the United States used to be that we welcomed even the most humble from around the world believing that American exceptionalism would elevate those people to heights not imagined in their native country. A mere few decades later some are afraid to allow much of anyone into the country, believing that no matter how great they are they only impose a burden on the U.S. system.
Challenging that pessimism, the Startup Act 2.0 was introduced in the House of Representatives. The Act is identical to the Senate bill, even sharing names. First, the Act would end numerical limits by country for employment-based visas, thereby allowing the best and brightest access to visas regardless of how many of their countrymen got in line ahead of them.Second, the Act creates two types of visas, one that provides permanent residence to foreign-born entrepreneurs if they meet certain conditions like creating jobs in the U.S., and another visa for those who have STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees, allowing these students to stay in the United States and petition for a green card.
We would offer visas to the best and the brightest, and to those with money to invest in the people of the United States.
Yet immigration critics, perhaps predictably, have voiced opposition. They miss the point that the United States is exceptional, and that regardless of job openings, inviting those in who create jobs benefits us all. Similarly, securing the best and brightest from around the globe to plant their ideas and grow their dreams here returns dividends to every current U.S. citizen.
We must ignore those who stoke fear by doubting our country’s role in the world, and support those who understand our country’s ability to lift up those who come here, and by doing so lift those up who are already here.