How Immigrants Can Help Employ US Workers

I received an email today from Richard Herman, co-author of “Immigrant, Inc. — Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and how they will save the American worker).”

I asked to accept it as a guest blog and received permission to do so. Why?

Because I believe we need more immigrants to stay in the US and start businesses. The media company I am now the CEO of is here because a single student – my father — was allowed in the country in 1957. It is worth noting he was not only allowed in but allowed to stay. As I wrote recently on the topic of reductions in US patents:

Perhaps the best part of the article is the quote from Mark Chandler, general counsel of Cisco Systems when referring to the US system of allowing the best and brightest from around the world to be educated in the US and then forced to leave the country, “We’re forcing these people to do their productive work elsewhere. They should have a green card stapled to their admittance letter.”

Here is an important comment I made in the article:

What should be done? The government should allow in- even court the best and brightest students from around the world – have them educated and then give them grants to start companies in the US. We should overhaul our immigration system, allowing the smartest and most productive citizens of the world easy access to jobs and opportunities in the US.

Every day it seems I learn about new companies founded by immigrants. In most every case they are employing US citizens. Perhaps my viewpoint would be different if unemployment was around 1% or less but since we are far from there at 10% and growing, it is time to get assistance from the best and brightest in the world.

This is what has made America great up until this point and what will continue to help us as the world becomes more global.

This is what Richard Herman has to say:

I remember appearing on Fox’s television show “The O’Reilly Factor” a couple of years ago to discuss immigration reform with guest host Michelle Malkin. As you can guess, Michelle quickly abandoned a conversational tone and erupted into a frenzied scream on how immigration is destroying America.

I also remember receiving death threats after the show, from viewers who called me to say things like: ”all 100 million saw you on TV, and the revolution is on.”

I don’t think Michelle (whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines in the 1960s as the result of the Immigration Act of 1965, immigration reform that more widely opened the American door to Asians and other non-Europeans) will like the new book I co-wrote with journalist Robert L. Smith, titled “Immigrant, Inc. — Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and how they will save the American worker)” (John Wiley, November, 2009).

While I hoped a few might like this read of immigrant success stories intertwined with groundbreaking research, I didn’t anticipate that the book would garner such glowing reviews and attention as referenced below.

In his review, Neal Peirce of The Washington Post Writers Group calls the book “audacious.” Peirce writes that “the mere fact that immigrants are an asset, not a liability, puts a whole new face on the Lou Dobbs-style attacks on America’s 12 million undocumented immigrants that CNN so longer tolerated, and right-wing media still promote.” Peirce supports the book’s message that welcoming immigrant innovators and entrepreneurs is “a virtually guaranteed stimulus to our economy and to our creative capacity for this century.”   Hard to do with the current immigration system, which reserves only 9% of the coveted “green cards” for highly-skilled or investor immigrants. Due to the paltry number of available green cards and the resulting years’ wait to get one, more and more super talent is leaving the U.S. or deciding not to come in the first place.

In his review, Ira Stoll, editor of Future of Capitalism and author of “Samuel Adams: A LIfe” writes that the immigrant success stories “are compellingly told in this book.” Stoll also found that the book uncovered a unique angle on the formation of Google. “Somehow, even with all the books out there on the company’s success, most Google users probably don’t realize that the involvement of immigrants in the company’s success is so extensive.” An interview with the parents of Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, also give the reader a new perspective on how America’s welcoming of refugees has changed the world.

India’s Businessworld magazine says that Imimigrant, Inc. goes “beyond praising talented immigrant entrepreneurs to explore their mindsets, cultural specificities, and their high level of determination and innovative thinking….suggesting how Americans need to tap their ‘inner immigrant’ to succeed.”

The Akron Beacon Journal says that the authors “embarked on a mission to explore the data on immigration and open the eyes of a country they viewed as growing more insular since 9/11.”

The book is also generating the type of controversy that I first tasted after my appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor.” As indicated in the posts to some of the articles below, the nativists insist on spreading a message of xenophobia and of perpetuating antiquated high-skill immigration policies that continue to tie at least one hand behind America’s back as she faces fierce overseas competition in the innovation and job-creating game.   As my quote in Forbes suggests, “Americans are having a tough time dealing with global diversity.”

Congress and the President are expected to tackle immigration reform in early 2010. Let’s hope that we can find a way to free the immigrant job-creators.

For reviews and prominent mentions of “Immigrant, Inc.” see:

Happy New Year!
Richard Herman 
Richard T. Herman & Associates, LLC
Attorneys at Law
815 Superior Ave, Suite 1910
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
216-696-6170 office
216-375-0231 cell
216-696-0104 fax

Immigration Counsel to Global Talent & World-Class Companies
Co-Chair, TiE Ohio

Co-Author, “Immigrant Inc. — Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and how they will save the American worker)” (John Wiley & Sons, November, 2009)

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