Immigrant-Founded Companies Fuel Economic and Job Growth
Friday, July 25, 2014
As divisive as the issue has become in the United States, immigration reform is an issue business leaders from both political parties tend to agree on: it is necessary for continued economic strength and growth. While Congress and the administration have largely split over the topic – right down party lines for the most part – chambers of commerce and Fortune 500 executives have unified. Both history and economics tend to support the business side of the argument.
Some of the most compelling evidence demonstrating the impact immigrants have had on the U.S. economy can be found in the Fortune 500. Many of the most profitable companies in U.S. history were thought up and started by individuals who immigrated to the United States from other countries.
Recent statistics show that Fortune 500 companies – excluding all other businesses founded by non-U.S. born individuals -- founded by immigrants, alone, employ more than 3.6 million workers and contribute around $2 trillion dollars to the economy. Major companies founded by immigrants include not only the most obvious recent tech giants like Google, Yahoo! and eBay, but also some of the oldest and most venerable companies in the country like Goldman Sachs and DuPont, as well as Procter and Gamble.
This range from old-guard, blue chip companies to major technology firms founded in the last couple decades demonstrates the consistency with which immigrants come to the U.S., enter the business world and create opportunities for American workers. Immigrants, in fact, start new businesses twice as often as individuals born in the United States.
Existing U.S. companies are also stimulated by immigration. Some of the world’s best minds are attracted to the opportunities that the United States is able to offer. What business leaders are concerned about, however, is increasing competition from other countries for the global talent pool.
The United States currently caps the number of visas it issues each year to highly-talented individuals. This means that every year, many talented scientists, doctors and entrepreneurs are told that they cannot – or can no longer – work in the United States. When this happens, U.S. businesses face greater competition from international firms – sometimes from individuals who were educated and trained in the United States but told they could not stay here to work. And that is a losing scenario for the entire country.