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Immigrant Entrepreneurs at the State of the Union

Tonight, the First Lady’s guests at the State of the Union will include two entrepreneurs who came to the United States as students and stayed to build companies.

At the President’s State of the Union address, it’s a tradition for the First Lady to honor a small group of notable Americans as her guests in the gallery.  Tonight, the First Lady’s guests will include two entrepreneurs who came to the United States as students and stayed to build companies. They symbolize a Presidential priority of making it easier for innovative immigrants to stay in America to develop job-creating small businesses.

Mike Krieger is the co-founder of Instagram,the fastest growing social mobile startup in the United States today, with over 15 million registered users.  Mike was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and moved to California in 2004 to attend Stanford University, where he studied computer science and cognitive science.  In 2010, he joined up with Kevin Systrom to co-found Instagram, and now employs a talented, growing team of designers and engineers. After graduation, Mr. Krieger worked for a year on his student F-1 visa, later applying for and receiving an H-1B visa as a high-skill worker.  Mr. Krieger wants to permanently stay in the United States and has applied for a green card.

Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita is founder, president, and chief executive officer of Quality Electrodynamics (QED), in Cleveland, Ohio. Coming to America from Japan in 1988 and after receiving his Ph.D. in physics from Case Western Reserve University in 1998, Dr. Fujita chose to stay in America to begin his professional career.  In 2006 he started his own company, QED, which is a developer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art MRI radiofrequency antennas. QED is now one of the world’s largest suppliers of these products and ships around the globe.  In 2010, Dr. Fujita founded his second company, eQED, a solar energy-related electronics development and manufacturing company.  With the founding of both QED and eQED, Dr. Fujita is creating high-tech, well-paying, advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S. healthcare and energy sectors.

As part of his Blueprint for Building a 21st Century Immigration System, President Obama has urged Congress to “staple” a green card to the diplomas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates, so they can stay here, contribute to the U.S. economy, and become Americans over time.  These two entrepreneurs illustrate why we need an immigration system that encourages talented foreign students to remain in the United States, start businesses, and create jobs.  In the meantime, the Obama Administration has taken executive action as part of the White House Startup America initiative to attract and retain the best and brightest from around the world to grow our economy and create American jobs.

Tune in tonight at 9 p.m. ET and watched the enhanced version of the President’s State of the Union address: