Frontera Fund News Trump Watch

Trump’s “America First” Stance Offers Opportunities for High-Tech Workers and Founders in Other Countries

Guadalajara opens its arms to techies.
Guadalajara opens its arms to techies.
Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

Trump followers excused his anti-immigrant language as anti-illegal immigration language. “I’m not a racist. I support legal immigrants but not illegal immigrants,” they said to justify their support and vote for Trump.

We were not fooled.

During his 256 days in office, the Trump doctrine has become clear: He has moved to undermine legal immigration. He aims to cut it by half over the next decade through his hardline policies against undocumented immigrants and so-called Sanctuary Cities, derogatory comments about Mexicans, the extension of the Muslim ban to other countries, the ending of the DACA program, and the ever-present promise of the elusive border wall.

The doctrine also includes limiting immigration of the brightest minds on the planet.

The new attack against legal immigration limits “startup visas” for high-tech entrepreneurs entering the United States. It also cuts funding for scientific research, much of which is conducted at universities by highly qualified foreigners.

This past July, the Trump administration suspended the implementation of an Obama-era program called International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), just days before it started to roll out. The IER would have let immigrant founders of high-tech companies stay in the U.S. for up to five years with a startup visa if they showed a plan for expanding their business locally.

According to the Bay Area publication The Mercury News, a third of U.S. venture-backed companies that went public between 2006 and 2012 had at least one immigrant founder. Google, Intel, Tesla, Zipcar and other high-tech companies all have immigrant founders.

This “American jobs for Americans” policy ignores a long tradition of recruiting the best high-tech talent in the world: the innovators, the inventors, the highly trained globalized professionals.

In the long run, this policy is disastrous and can hinder the economic future of the U.S.

Countries like Canada, Mexico, India, and others are capitalizing on this faux pas and actively recruiting techies.

Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco – “Mexico’s Silicon Valley” – is capitalizing on the U.S.’s bad immigration policy. Their motto? “Innovation has no borders.”

On the website come2Jalisco.com you can learn how the state offers sanctuary and a non-discriminatory environment for high-tech entrepreneurs. 

We will keep you updated on developments about where immigration meets the high-tech world in Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.