Polis proposes visa changes in immigration bill
December 16, 2009
DENVER – U.S. Rep. Jared Polis said Tuesday he wants to make it easier for foreign investors to create jobs in the U.S. as part of a proposal to change the country’s immigration system.
The Colorado Democrat said two of his initiatives are part of federal legislation unveiled by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois. The proposal announced Tuesday would also create a path to legalization for illegal immigrants, something that has drawn the ire of people who argue it’s not a good idea given the weak economy and competition for jobs.
But Polis said that his proposals would help create jobs in the U.S. and that an overhaul to the nation’s immigration system should include ways to help foreign investors do that.
“We can make it clear that comprehensive immigration reform creates jobs for Americans,” Polis told The Associated Press.
Polis said his proposal would increase the number of EB-5 visas, which is for foreign investors who promise to create jobs in the U.S. Polis said he is proposing to make more of the visas available in economically disadvantaged, and streamline the process for applying and have a quicker turnaround to grant the visas to applicants.
Polis also proposes creating a new type of visa called the “Start-up” visa. It would be aimed at immigrants who have a business idea, as well as the financial backing of at least $250,000 to put their plans in place and create jobs. Polis argues that such a visa would make it more attractive for immigrants to invest in the U.S. instead of other countries.
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“In most cases, these are the folks who will either create jobs in other countries or here,” he said.
But U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, said tougher immigration enforcement would be better for the economy because it would lessen the unemployment rate.
Although the bill was unveiled in the House, lawmakers said the Senate would vote on it sometime next year.