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Immigration Issues A Focus Of Silicon Valley CEO Summit

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(CBS)

(CBS)

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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Some 200 high-tech CEO’s gathered in San Jose on Wednesday to share ideas about the economy, job growth and other important issues in Silicon Valley.

One concern expressed by some at the 10th annual Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Business Climate Summit was immigration issues, which are seen as a major obstacle to future growth.

Garrett Johnson, CEO of cloud startup SendHub, said they are looking to hire at least two more engineers, but 90 percent of their applicants are immigrants, too expensive for a startup to bring on.

“We have to move those applicants to the side and focus on the people who are going to cost us the least to get them into our office,” Johnson said.

On a positive note, he said SendHub is doing well from a business standpoint, growing from three co-founders to 12 full-time employees.

Geetha Vallabhaneni, CEO of Luminix Inc., who moved to the U.S. from India 13 years ago, said the nation’s immigration system is broken.

“What essentially is happening here is you take really smart, capable, passionate individuals and you’re limiting them from realizing their full potential,” she said.

Many executives are calling for more H-1B visas for tech workers and to issue green cards for foreign students who graduate in the U.S.

Half of the participating companies added jobs in 2012 and nearly half expect to add jobs in 2013.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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