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Dan Hannaher, Fargo, Published June 26 2013

Letter: Right thing to do for immigration

It’s been heartening to watch the art of compromise re-emerge in the U.S. Senate around comprehensive immigration reform. The efforts of both Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., are to be commended. Hopefully bipartisanship will spread to the House of Representatives, as well, on this important issue.

During my time as regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, I participated in President Barack Obama’s StartUp America initiative, a public/private partnership encouraging job growth among innovative, high-growth new businesses. Invariably one of the greatest concerns expressed by these start-up entrepreneurs and venture capitalists was our current immigration law.

Our broken immigration system is not a problem that can be put off. If we don’t make it better for foreign knowledge workers to come to the U.S. and build lives, we will fall behind our global competitors, and the technological change of the coming decades will occur elsewhere. If we don’t create a legal way for less-skilled immigrants to enter the country and work, we won’t restore the rule of law – and will all but guarantee that millions more come to the U.S. illegally in the years ahead. If we don’t come up with an answer for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, we will squander the talent of a generation.

For these reasons alone, the current reforms moving through Congress are not just the smart thing to do, they are the right thing to do.