The immigration news lately for the Department of Homeland Security has been decidedly downbeat:

  • The GAO issues a scathing report on the DHS border fence initiative.
  • DHS settles a complaint that attacked longstanding and deplorable immigration detention conditions in the basement of the Los Angeles federal building.
  • The Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race,Ethnicity & Diversity at U.C. Berkeley Law School releases a damning critique of Hispanic racial profiling in the Criminal Alien Program managed by DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

With all this bad news, DHS may have overlooked a great proposal that the Department should support if it wants to turn the tide of bad PR. Paul Graham, a partner in a venture capital firm that provides seed money to start-up companies, recommends that Congress establish a “Founder’s Visa (FV).” Graham suggests that the government grant 10,000 FV green cards per year to foreign nationals who provide a credible and fully-vetted business plan outlining the creation of a new business. FV green card holders would be prohibited from working for someone else; hence, no jobs for U.S. workers would be endangered. Rather, high-value jobs would be spawned.

The best thing for DHS under the FV proposal would be that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudicators need not pull their hair out trying to decide whether a foreign entrepreneur’s proposed business plan made business sense. (The USCIS’s ability to parse the ways of business in the real world has never been particularly good. Witness the backhanded body blow it applied recently to multinational managers and executives and its history of failed rulemaking and even poorer adjudication of the EB-5 employment-creation investor visa.)

Instead, Graham suggests the vetting of proposed FV business plans be done outside government by a venture-capital accreditation body, much like the organizations that grant accreditation to universities and schools that are allowed to issue student visas. America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs are already helping to create jobs for U.S. workers through innovation. USCIS already has its hands full in readying itself for the onslaught of mandatory use of E-Verify by federal contractors, fanning out its outsourced and home-grown army of fraud-detection officers to conduct site visits of America’s small and large employers, dealing with a broken budget that can’t be fully supported by user fees, and preparing for the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation.

DHS should support Graham’s green card proposal for verifiable entrepreneurs. If a venture-capital accreditation board can reduce the burden of adjudication on an already strapped USCIS, promote immigration’s and the nation’s transformation and create American jobs, then the FV green card is well-worth including in the CIR push this year and next. It makes loads more sense than a Diversity Lottery for green cards which relies on casino-style randomness as the basis to sprinkle green cards on a lucky few.

Wise up DHS. This is a good PR opportunity to distract the public from your spate of bad press. Give Senator Schumer and Representative Lofgren a call, or urge the President to do it.