(Kansas City, Missouri) - A growing number of well-known companies - including Google, Facebook, Intel, eBay, and LinkedIn - have this much in common: They were founded or co-founded by immigrants.
Stuart Anderson, who heads the nonprofit National Foundation for American Policy, draws from his report American Made 2.0: How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Continue to Contribute to the U.S. Economy in discussing the substantial role of the country's immigrant entrepreneurs and professionals on Thursday, June 4, 2015, at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St. The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.
The event, co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, is part of the Library's commemoration of Immigrant Heritage Month.
Despite continued federal restrictions on skilled immigrants, a third of all U.S. venture-backed companies that went public between 2006 and 2012 had at least one immigrant founder and they employ nearly 65,500. Anderson's report, first commissioned by the National Venture Capital Association in 2006 and updated in 2013, shows the most profound impact in the area of technology.
The findings, he says, reflect the benefits of an open policy toward legal immigration. But the report also contains a warning about governmental restrictions that could slow immigrant-driven job creation and innovation.
A survey of private company founders, both U.S.- and foreign-born, showed that 79% think "the process for a foreign-born entrepreneur to enter and remain in the U.S. to start a business is too difficult." Nearly three-quarters of the executives of all venture-backed businesses agree that "current U.S. immigration laws for skilled professionals harm American competitiveness." Nine in 10 believe a startup visa program would benefit the nation's economy.
U.S. employers now can hire foreign nationals under an H-1B temporary visa program for skilled workers, but demand has consistently exceeded supply.
"The contributions of immigrants to the United States would be even greater," the report concludes, "if Congress adopted the right policies on startups and high skill immigration."
Anderson is executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, an Arlington, Virginia-based research organization that has conducted a number of Kauffman Foundation-funded studies of immigration and its effect on entrepreneurship and economic development in the U.S. He also serves as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C., and is a former executive associate commissioner for policy and planning and counselor to the commissioner at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Anderson worked for 4½ years with the Senate Immigration Subcommittee - first for Michigan Sen. Spencer Abraham, who went on to become Secretary of Energy, and then for future Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.