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Udall Welcomes White House Effort to Encourage Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Spur Job Creation

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Today, Mark Udall applauded an announcement by President Obama that part of his effort to support jobs and boost the economy will include a push to ensure we are retaining foreign-born entrepreneurs so they can start up the next generation of small businesses and great American companies.

Udall has been pushing for a similar initiative, known as the StartUp Visa Act, which is designed to encourage the best and the brightest innovators to found companies here in the United States. The bipartisan bill, which Udall co-sponsored with Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), creates a new visa category that allows immigrant entrepreneurs and foreign graduates from U.S. universities to appeal for a two-year visa on the condition that they secure financing from a qualified U.S. investor and can demonstrate the ability to create American jobs.

Familiar U.S. companies such as Google, Yahoo, Intel, Pfizer and eBay all began as startups founded by immigrants and grew into multibillion-dollar industry leaders that now provide thousands of Americans with high-paying jobs in cutting-edge fields. But the number of jobs offered by startups is dropping off partly because of the economic downturn and partly because of our nation's broken immigration system.

Udall strongly believes that a fix is necessary to encourage job creation and economic growth in Colorado and across the United States.

"Colorado's quality of life, great higher education opportunities and cluster of labs and high-tech companies make it an ideal place to launch a startup. But the current visa rules are holding us back," Udall said. "One case in point is Vanilla Forums, a Canadian company whose products are used by websites around the world to host online forum discussions. The company's founders took part in a productive mentorship program in Boulder and got interest from scores of U.S. investors. But even all of that couldn't cinch the owners' interest in staying and creating Colorado jobs because they were concerned about getting visas. Vanilla Forums ultimately located in Montreal, Quebec."

"America has tremendous potential for growth and innovation that can create jobs and reassert our global leadership position. The StartUp Visa Act is one of several fiscally responsible proposals I'm fighting for that would spur that growth and help get our economy back on track. I welcome this push by the president, and I urge my colleagues to join us," Udall continued. "Although I still believe that broader reform of our immigration system is long overdue, this fix is important to ensure our doors are open to the innovators and entrepreneurs who will help drive America's future economy and create jobs."

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