America To Immigrants: ‘Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor’ But Keep Your Entrepreneurs

Washington Post
October 2, 2012

Hardik Desai conceived a startup while he was studying for an MBA at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University (OSU) in 2008. Based on research that the university was conducting, Desai came up with a new way to diagnose a group of diseases including painful bladder syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. He and his team wrote a business plan for a company they named IR Diagnostyx. The plan won third place in a 2009 business school competition at OSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship. The panel of VCs and entrepreneurs provided Hardik strong encouragement to start this company.

But the U.S. government wouldn’t provide Hardik with a visa to start the company. Hardik had no difficulty in getting an H1-B visa that allowed him to work, but immigration rules did not allow him to work for a company that he started. So, he abandoned his entrepreneurial dreams.

I tell Desai’s and others’ stories in my book “The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent.” In the book, and on my team’s Web site, www.immigrantexodus.com, we have documented dozens of stories of entrepreneurs like Hardik who could be boosting U.S. innovation and creating the jobs our country desperately needs.

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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…