Top 10 Reasons for Immigration Reform: A Business Perspective
10. A stronger GDP means a better standard of living for Americans.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that immigration reform would increase real Gross Domestic Product relative to current law projections by 3.3 percent in 2023 and 5.4 percent in 2033 – an increase of roughly $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033 in today’s dollars.
9. Immigrants start small businesses.
According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, immigrants started 28 percent of all new business in 2011.
8. Immigrant-owned businesses create jobs for American workers.
According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, small businesses owned by immigrants employed an estimated 4.7 million people in 2007, and these small businesses generated more than $776 billion in revenue annually.
7. Immigrants boost demand for local consumer goods.
According to the 2010 American Community Survey, immigrants earned a total of $1.1 trillion, and the Immigration Policy Center estimates that the purchasing power of Latinos and Asians, many of whom are immigrants, alone will reach $1.5 trillion and $775 billion, respectively, by 2015.
6. Immigrants innovate as scientists and engineers.
According to the National Survey of College Graduates, immigrants represent 29 percent of scientists. They also represent 50 percent of PhDs working in math and computer science occupations and 57 percent of PhDs working in engineering occupations.
5. Immigrants develop cutting-edge technologies and companies.
According to a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, immigration was responsible for one third of the explosive growth in patenting per capita in the 1990s, and these innovations contributed to increasing U.S GDP by 2.4 percent. According to the National Venture Capital Association, immigrants have started 25 percent of public U.S. companies that were backed by venture capital investors. This list includes Google, eBay, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, and Intel.
4. Immigrant scientist and engineers positively impact wages.
According to a study at the University of California – Davis, a 1 percent increase in the share of foreign scientist and engineers in the U.S. workforce would increase the wages of native college-educated workers by 4 to 6 percent, and have no significant effect on the wages and employment of native non-college-educated workers.
3. Fixing our broken immigration system is critical to bilateral trade and U.S. exports.
Investments to strengthen the border and facilitate more efficient trade with both Mexico and Canada will strengthen the U.S. economy. Canada and Mexico are our first and third trading partners in the world, respectively, together accounting for nearly one-third of U.S. exports in 2012 and more than $3 billion two-way trade per day in 2012. An increase in exports means more jobs right here in the US.
2. Fixing our broken immigration system will help increase international travel and tourism to America.
Travel and tourism represent the largest service-export industry in the U.S., setting a record $168.1 billion in exports in 2012 and supporting 7.7 million jobs in the third quarter 2012. The economic impact and importance of travel and tourism will continue to grow in the coming years as emerging economies around the world experience an increase in their vacationing middle classes. China, Brazil, and India alone represent approximately 40 percent of the world’s population and by 2017 the number of travelers from those countries is expected to increase by 259 percent, 83 percent, and 47 percent respectively.
1. It’s the right thing to do
What makes America strong is our diversity. A diverse populace fuels innovation. Innovation, in turn, fuels our economy. Our economy, in part, fuels the American Dream that anyone can succeed if they pull up their bootstraps. The American Dream is what underlies the United States’ most fundamental value – Freedom.
Freedom is the message we should send to our international audience, not fear and exclusion.