"In recent years, one in four high-tech startups in America were founded by immigrants. One in 4 new small-business owners were immigrants, including right here in Nevada, folks who came here seeking opportunity and now want to share that opportunity with other Americans," Obama said.
"But we all know that today we have an immigration system that's out of date and badly broken. A system that's holding us back instead of helping us grow our economy and strengthen our middle class," he noted.
Among other things, the proposals include creating a startup visa for job-creating entrepreneurs, expand opportunities for investor visas and US economic development and create a new visa category for employees of federal national security science and technology laboratories.
Referring to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, of which more than 2,40,000 are from India, Obama said though they have broken the rules, but it is "impossible" to deport them.
"These 11 million men and women are now here. Many of them have been here for years. And the overwhelming majority of these individuals aren't looking for any trouble. They're contributing members of the community. They're woven into the
fabric of our lives," Obama said.
He noted the change in the system was needed to strengthen country's middle class and create more opportunities.
"We have to bring this shadow economy into light so that everybody is held accountable," he said.
The reforms also aim at holding back the "brilliant" talents in the country once they complete their education at US institutions, Obama said, noting that this was not happening due to lack of a liberal immigration policy.
"We're giving them all the skills they need to figure that out, but then we're going to turn around and tell them to start that business and create those jobs in China or India or Mexico or someplace else. That's not how you grow new industries in America. That's how you give new industries to our competitors," the President said.
Obama cited examples of companies like Intel and Instagram to highlight contributions by the immigrant community towards development of US economy.
Urging the Congress to immediately