A Nation of Immigrants and Entrepreneurs

Immigrants come to Long Island to start businesses.

America is a nation of immigrants, and it’s a nation of entrepreneurs.

People from all over the world come here to pursue their dreams of starting their own businesses. All across the nation, immigrants are starting and building successful businesses that create jobs and promote the economic growth of their communities.

It’s no secret that our economy has been sluggish. Since the Great Recession of 2009, countless jobs have been lost and businesses have shut down. Comprehensive immigration reform would be a big step towards jumpstarting our economy.

“To accelerate our nation’s economic momentum, we need an immigration system that works for America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners—a system that allows us to leverage the creativity and diversity of immigrant entrepreneurs to better compete in the global economy,” wrote Karen Mills, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Mills recently met with local business owners and leaders from the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce to talk about how immigration reform would foster entrepreneurship and create jobs for workers, not only in New York, but across America.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

“We know that immigrants over-index in entrepreneurship,” wrote Mills. “In 2011 alone, immigrants started 28% of all new U.S. businesses, despite accounting for only 13% of the U.S. population. And between 2006 and 2012, 44% of new tech startups in Silicon Valley had at least one immigrant founder.”

In addition, immigrants or their children founded more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies, which together employ over 10 million people and generate annual revenue of $4.2 trillion.

The bipartisan bill passed by the Senate would help all of this. Not only does it revamp our existing visa system, it creates a new “startup visa” for immigrant entrepreneurs, allowing those who meet a threshold level of financing from U.S. investors or revenue from U.S. customers to start businesses in the United States, and remain permanently if their companies grow and create jobs for American workers.

We need the House to act swiftly on this issue when Congress returns from recess early next month. The Senate got the job done, it’s time for the House to do the same.