Advocates for immigration reforms are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the foundations of immigration reforms work starting 2017 is laid out now; they do not intend to play the wait-and-watch game until the election outcomes in November. In partnership with organisations and companies in the US, the US Chamber of Commerce initiative – Reason for Reform campaign was launched this week to see a New American Economy develop in future that envisions a system free of systematic gaps.
In a move to counter common myths on immigrants in the USA such as the one that immigrants are responsible for burdening the American economy, the campaign attempts to spread awareness about immigration facts to the larger public and lawmakers in a wholesome manner by documenting contributions that immigrants make towards the American economy (across all the 50 states, and DC area).
In his address to the press, Randel Johnson, Senior VP of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the US Chamber of Commerce, stated that effects of immigration have to be assessed at the community and state levels. To exemplify this case, he gave statistics for the state of Wisconsin where 57,953 American workforce and generate employment than work as an employee. Statistics also show that immigrants contributed $675.4 million in taxes to the government as a result of earnings from $7.6 billion for the year 2014. Compare that to the statistics recorded in the state of Texas, with close to 421,942 of the American workforce working with firms set up by immigrants with $8.7 billion in taxes levied on earnings of $118.7 billion.
When it comes to the state of New York, 23% of the population consists of immigrant community which makes up for more than one-third of the workforce in fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. If that’s not all, then statistics also point out that one-third of immigrant entrepreneurs in the state employ close to 500,000 workers, which accounts only for the private companies. In addition to this, more than half of the 55 Fortune 500 companies in the state were founded by immigrants or their next generation. America is known since time immemorial for its immigrants who start businesses and build things while employing American workforce. Unlike other sectors, the technology sector is very immigrant-friendly as it not only benefits due to the highly skilled workforce working in this sector, it also was, in a way, set up by the immigrant population in America.
Founder of AOL and current CEO and Chairman at Revolution, Steve Case stated that America has been an entrepreneurial and innovative nation since its founding, more so because the country is immigration friendly. Case, further stated that America has been losing out capable talent to other countries thanks to tightening its noose on immigration and residency policies, which will definitely lead the country into decaying entrepreneurial spirit and declining economy.
As per a recent study published by the Kauffman Foundation, entrepreneurs of foreign origin were responsible for setting up a fourth of start-ups based in the USA, with 50% of these founders building start-ups in the Silicon Valley that brought in revenues of $52 billion back in 2005.
Top founders like Sergey Brin who fled the Soviet Union to set up Google with co-founder Larry Page; Steve Jobs who was responsible for crafting the Apple brand and son of a Syrian immigrant; or Elon Musk, the South African immigrant founder of Tesla are all examples of how immigrants have contributed significantly to American economy. The journeys of these great leaders symbolize the American spirit and story, which will only flourish if the country fosters and retains the best of the talent.
More and more agricultural groups, inclusive of the President of the American Farm Bureau, Zippy Duvall, have voiced their concerns on the need for immigrant workers who work in the agricultural sector in America, stating that America needs agricultural workforce that can work on the farms, tending and harvesting them in a timely fashion. However, the country is short on this workforce and heavily relies on immigrant workers. The groups further argue that such shortages in workforce will put a huge pressure on the country’s food supplies.
The immigration reforms issue united people across all corners of the American economy with Fred Wilson, tech venture capitalist, stating that he wanted to support the cause because reforming the immigration laws have a direct implication on the innovation, economy and opportunity within America.
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