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Heck holds immigration panel with foreign entrepreneurs

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Updated: 8/12/2013 12:35 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Congressman Joe Heck is on the strip today, leading a panel discussion on immigration.

Heck was flanked by foreign-born tech-based entrepreneurs who detailed for the congressman how difficult it was to come to the U.S. and start a business. They also spoke about the difficulties they faced in hiring anyone from outside the U.S. to work at their business.

The panel was held with the intention of giving these entrepreneurs a voice on how the United States’ immigration system is hurting American business by driving foreign entrepreneurs away from the U.S. and to other countries.

The main complaint made was that while other countries are opening their arms and welcoming tech workers and foreign entrepreneurs, the U.S. is wait-listing many of them.

Congressman Heck seemed to agree with that sentiment, quoting figures from 2011 that stated that the U.S. was only granting 12 percent of its green cards to high-tech workers and entrepreneurs, whereas other high-tech countries grant closer than 60 percent of its green cards to such workers.

The congressman went on to say that the lack of tech workers can be felt even right here in Southern Nevada.

“We have critical needs that we’re not able to meet here locally with graduates from not only within our state, but from within the country,” Heck said. “And when you look at the I.T. sector, which is one of the Governor’s cluster areas of emphasis to try to grow and diversify our economy, we just can’t meet the demand.”

Back in late June, the senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill, but house Republicans have expressed a desire to tackle the reforms with a piecemeal approach.

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