Friday, April 28 , 2017, 11:20 pm | Fair 69º

 
 
 

Tom Donohue: Immigrant Entrepreneurs Remain Vital to U.S. Economy

We need a rational immigration policy that values the energy and innovation of enterprising foreigners

We are a nation of immigrants bound together by the unique American ideals of individual freedom and responsibility and driven by the limitless opportunities of free enterprise. These powerful draws of freedom and opportunity have brought the world’s best and brightest to our shores for generations.

Immigrants helped lay the economic foundation of our country, and they can play an equally important role in our future. Today, as we face a sluggish recovery and persistently high unemployment, the energy, ideas, hard work and determination of immigrant entrepreneurs are strengthening our efforts to grow the economy, create jobs and keep America competitive.

The contributions that immigrant entrepreneurs make to our economy are evident in enterprises large and small. They are helping rejuvenate their own communities and create employment opportunities for their neighbors through local real estate ventures, ethnic food stores, restaurants and retail services. In many cases, they see a need, come up with an idea to meet it, and enrich themselves and their neighborhoods in the process.

They are tapping into high-growth sectors and starting businesses in food manufacturing, transportation, construction, money transfer and travel services, and tourism. These growth businesses put Americans to work at home and often connect our markets with customers outside of the United States.

Foreign-born entrepreneurs are also helping keep America on the leading edge of innovation and at the forefront of engineering, technology and science. A quarter of our scientists and engineers are foreigners, and so are more than half of the graduate and Ph.D. students studying high-tech disciplines at U.S. institutions. We need them to contribute their skills to U.S. enterprises to draw global investment, create jobs for our workers and grow our economy.

If we’re going to continue to attract and retain the world’s most creative entrepreneurs who want to better their lives and add to our economy, we’ve got to adopt a rational immigration policy that harnesses the energy and innovation of enterprising foreigners. We’ve got to cut the red tape that holds back aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs. We need visa reform to welcome job creators of every size and sector. And we must make it easier for high-skilled immigrants and foreign graduates of U.S. institutions to invest their talents in our knowledge economy.

If we don’t, we’ll send innovation to our competitors at the expense of our own economic growth and job creation.

America was built on the hard work, sacrifice, creativity and dreams of immigrants. They can help drive our revitalization.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >