How U.S. immigration laws push American startups out of America

All it took was a few days in New York City for P.J. Cobut to fall in love with America. For a kid growing up in a sleepy, rural town in Belgium, the Big Apple’s frenetic bustle was intoxicating. He loved it. All he wanted was to go back, this time for more than just a family vacation.

A few years later, Cobut got his wish. He signed up for a student-exchange program and spent a year at Marietta High School in southeastern Ohio. He stuck around in the sleepy Appalachian town after graduation to attend Marietta College as a pre-med student before shifting his focus from medicine to business and finishing his undergraduate studies in Belgium, where he went on to earn his masters degree. (Full disclosure: Cobut attended high school with the Daily Dot’s politics editor, Andrew Couts.)

Cobut spent a few years working at Procter & Gamble in Geneva, Switzerland, but was unfulfilled. He was just one little cog in a giant machine looking out across the Atlantic at a glittering world of opportunity. Cobut left the company and enrolled at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2012. During his first year there, he hooked up with an Israeli classmate named Elad Ferber, and, following in the footsteps of so many other ambitious Stanford graduate students, like Larry Page and Sergey Brin, went all in on a tech startup.

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About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…