Former president and co-founder of AOL Steve Case. Photo provided by his office. EFE
Washington, Dec 4 (EFE).- AOL co-founder Steve Case has been a long-time advocate for business management but, in an interview on Tuesday with Efe, he described himself as an "evangelist" for the elusive matter of immigration reform.
Case, considered to be one of the United States' most important businessmen, was named to President Barack Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and since that time he has embarked on a media campaign to push for immigration reform.
"I'm obviously not in the political process directly, it's mostly being an advocate, almost an evangelist for the importance of focusing on the issue and working together in a bipartisan way to come up with a solution," said Case in a telephone interview.
"It's obviously a complicated problem but it also is a great opportunity for the nation to really take the necessary steps to ensure that we remain competitive by ensuring we have access to the talent necessary to be successful in a global economy," he said.
The United States did not achieve its position as the world economic leader "by accident" but rather by the hard work of its businessmen, many of them immigrants, he said.
Therefore, he said it doesn't make sense for the United States to give education and training to foreigners and then to allow a brain drain that, in the final analysis, only helps the competition.
"When they get this education, we should encourage them to stay here and join companies or start up companies here 'cause that could drive job growth for everybody," Case said.
Contrary to what the detractors of reform argue, the majority of immigrants, in particular those with advanced degrees, "are job creators, not job takers," Case emphasized, giving the example of innovative foreigners who started companies like American Telephone and Telegraph, Google and Intel.
More than a fourth of the new businesses in the technology sector between 1995 and 2005 were created in part by foreigners.
Now that the U.S. election is over, Case said, "it's time for Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, working with the White House, to come together around a comprehensive solution" to the problem of undocumented foreigners.
Case has gotten to work on the immigration issue with the same impetus that he has shown in the business sector and said he is convinced that the best businessmen are those who dare to question the "established order."
On Tuesday, Case will be the main speaker at a strategy session for a coalition of leaders from across the U.S. political spectrum that is pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in 2013.