Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What does Obama's relection mean for immigration

Barack Obama has won the election! What does this mean to the future of innovation and the technology industry? Based on Obama’s record and statements released during the campaign, here’s what technologists can look forward to:
  • Strong support for high-skilled immigration reform: The Startup 2.0 Act is most likely the first opportunity for reform, and probably won’t happen until next year. Specifically, the Startup 2.0 Act would increase work visa availability for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) graduates from American universities. Second, it would create an entrepreneurship visa for foreign workers who create jobs in the U.S. (right now, foreign workers have to be sponsored by another company, which makes it difficult to be a founder). Finally, it eliminates country-specific caps on visas. Pressure from Democrats to include immigration reforms for Mexico and other low-represented nations will be a challenge, however.
  • Open Government Reform: Obama’s political appointees, Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, and Chief Information Officer, Steven VanRoekel, will continue to open the vaults of government data for use by the private sector (much like Reagan did for navigation consumer tech, when he released the Global Positioning System data)
  • Continued support for government investment in clean technology, and the technology industry, through the Small Business Administration, which gives millions to investors for early stage companies and those outside the typical startup zones (i.e. California and New York).
  • Strong support for STEM Education. Obama will continue to support the federal government as having an important role in preparing the next generation innovators.

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