Immigrants’ belief in the American Dream benefits us all

As we just celebrated the Independence of America, I thought about how great this country has been for my immigrant family. All of us have excelled under its democratic system and entrepreneurial environment. In turn, this country, attracting the brightest minds of the world by offering a renowned opportunity called the American Dream, have benefited from its immigrants for more than 300 years.


A recent study, “American Made: The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on U.S. Competitiveness”, found the following:

  • Immigrants have started 1 in 4 (25 percent) U.S. public companies that were venture-backed in the past 15 years, representing a market capitalization of more than $500 billion. You may have heard of some of them: Intel, Google, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems and eBay.
  • Moreover, a survey of today’s private, venture-backed start-up companies in the U.S. estimated that 47 percent have immigrant founders.
  • Of the more than 400,000 worldwide jobs created by immigrant-founded ventured-backed public companies, 70 percent are in the high-tech manufacturing sector.

Pretty amazing. Given the disproportionally high involvement in high-tech sector, the “immigrant impact” is likely to grow even more in coming years. What a great country!

Now, the scary part. The report revealed an increasing concern that current US immigration policy is jeopardizing our ability to attract and retain critical talent from across the globe. More than two-thirds of immigrant entrepreneurs agreed that U.S. immigration policy has made it more difficult than in the past to start a company in America. Two-thirds of the private companies surveyed who use H-1B visas (temporary visa to hire skilled foreign nationals) say that current immigration laws harm U.S. competitiveness. Forty percent stated that current immigration policies have negatively impacted their companies when competing against other firms globally. One-third of the private companies said that the lack of visas had influenced their company’s decision to place more personnel in facilities abroad.

So, why do those who yell the loudest about being “patriotic” support such un-American immigration policies? Why is the Patriot Act, passed to supposedly to protect our nation, putting it in such harm’s way?

On this Independence Day weekend, I wanted to do something for my country and encourage everyone to remember that the mystic of the American Dream is one of the greatest assets of this country. This powerful pull attracts the brightest and most ambitious from around the world to drive our businesses to greater innovations. Don’t let this 300-year-old American tradition be jeopardized by the simple polarizing slogans and dangerous short-sightedness.