How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Foreign entrepreneurs on a boat? A startup's proposal for skirting the immigration system

Out of all the morning's stories competing for my click, this one grabbed it: A report from The Associated Press about a Sunnyvale, Calif. startup that seeks to house foreign entrepreneurs who can't get work visas on a boat, perhaps a converted cruise ship, docked off the California coast.

The startup, Blueseed Co., is headed by Max Marty, a second-generation Cuban American who became frustrated with the visa system and conceived the floating live-work space plan after hearing his foreign business-school classmates at the University of Miami complain about having to leave the country after completing their degrees. Why, he thought, not put them on a boat? 

Federal immigration officials contacted wouldn't comment, saying they weren't familiar with the proposal yet. Not surprisingly, it's also drawn its share of criticism. My favorite line in the story, from a maritime engineering consultant: "...it would be prudent if the vessel had its own propulsion if you had a Pacific hurricane come along." Here is an excerpt with more details:

From cruise ships to oil rigs to military aircraft carriers, there are several examples of individuals living and working on ships. This one would accommodate about 1,000 people and be docked 12 miles southwest of San Francisco Bay, in international waters.

It would be registered in a country with a reputable legal system, maybe the Bahamas or the Marshall Islands, Marty said. Residents would be subject to the laws of that nation.

Residents would be ferried ashore with temporary business or tourist visas, which are easier to get, to meet with investors, collaborators, partners and others.

Read more at: www.chicagotribune.com

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