By Suketu Mehta, Time
America has succeeded, and achieved its present position of global dominance, because it has always been good at importing the talent it needs.
Immigrants are 14% of the U.S. population, but they started a quarter of all new businesses and earned over a third of all the Nobel Prizes in science given to those affiliated with U.S. universities. One of four U.S. tech companies established from 1995 to 2005 had an immigrant founder, CEO, president or chief technology officer, and by one analysis about 71% of Silicon Valley tech workers are immigrants. The numbers are even more impressive at the top: of the 25 biggest public tech companies in 2013, 60% were founded by immigrants or their children, such as Apple’s Steve Jobs, son of a Syrian immigrant, and Google’s Sergey Brin, who came from Russia at the age of 6.
In 2008, Bill Gates stated before Congress that for every tech worker the country lets in, five American jobs are created. Over half of all billion-dollar tech startups have an immigrant founder. Today they employ half a million Americans. Immigrants or their children founded 43% of the 2017 Fortune 500 companies, which employed more than 12 million people worldwide in 2016.
To shut off this incredible wellspring of talent would be to cut off America’s brain to spite its muscles. Because that talent has an increasing number of countries vying to get it to come to their shores.