AOL Co-Founder Turns Attention to Immigration Reform

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After a successful campaign for the Jobs Act, AOL Inc co-founder Steve Case says he’s ready to champion for immigration reform.

President Obama signed the JOBS Act Thursday that will help small businesses and make it easier for startups to raise capital. The bill would phase in Securities and Exchange Commission regulations to let smaller companies go public sooner.

At a White House gathering in which President Obama signed the aforementioned bill, Case told Reuters he wants to push for legislation that would make it easier for high skilled immigrants to work in the United States.

Case, who runs a Washington-based venture investment firm, said recruiting foreign talent is one of the most important issues facing the startup community. He said given the success of the Jobs Act, he believes there is a chance Congress could act on the issue before the November elections.

But Case is limiting his involvement to legislation focusing on skilled immigrants, rather than a comprehensive approach that would also address the contentious issue of undocumented immigration.

That could put him in disfavor with some groups, including some Congressional Democrats and a majority of Hispanic voters, who believe pairing the two issues is the only way of getting Congress to deal with a broken immigration system.

It’s also unlikely that Republicans would sign onto a bill that would be seen as a victory for Obama.

A recent study by the National Foundation for American Policy found that immigrants founded or co-founded close to half of the 50 top venture-backed companies in the U.S. The majority of those companies, 37, also had at least one immigrant in a key management position.

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