I just finished reading an opinion piece by Michael Bloomberg in The Wall Street Journal espousing a “new immigration consensus” by the “business community”. The first paragraph in his piece sums up the approach that the last several administrations have taken regarding immigration reform: convening panels of “advocates” to discuss the issue.
As Bloomberg sees it- the solution is “simple: Reform the way we attract and keep talented and hard-working people from abroad to better promote economic growth.” He is one of many business people in this country who believe that “the world’s best, brightest and hardest-working” all live in other countries; who want to help anyone else from anywhere else but America. He basically says in his op-ed that it is immigrants who are the innovators and job creators. (A whopping 25% of small businesses are started by immigrants; who started the other 75%?)
He is not alone in this biased thinking; Carl Schramm, the president of the Kauffman Foundation, is another proponent of helping entrepreneurs from other countries find their financial success in America. The general business consensus seems to be that we should provide special visas for foreign “entrepreneurs”, and help them succeed and grow the economy so that our own citizens can work for them. Does anyone else see how backwards this idea is?
The United States has produced the likes of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Dina Kaplan (Blip.tv) and Richard Barton (Expedia) to name just a few of our many success stories. Some of our best known startups were begun in places like garages, dorms or at the kitchen table; with little more than an idea and the drive to succeed. That is American entrepreneurship. So please don’t mask your desire for immigration reform by telling us we must import our entrepreneurial spirit from another country. You insult us.
Bloomberg and Schramm suggest the U.S. create an “entrepreneur visa”; aka- one more avenue into the country for people that our government could fail to monitor. We already have 85, yes 85 visa categories which include visas for Doctors, Chemists, Economists, Architects, Researchers, Scientists and even, as ridiculous as it is, Fashion Models. What- women in other countries are better at being anorexics?
This propensity for “business” people to look elsewhere for talent is invading every profession. We have to get our baseball players from the Dominican Republic, our IT people from India, our agricultural workers, cooks and nannies from South America; at the same time we’re shipping jobs out to the people we can’t bring over.
How about people like Bloomberg, Gates, Schramm and the like investing some of that “Giving Pledge” cash to Americans with great ideas? Oh, sorry, I forgot - they’re too busy stamping out tobacco use. Talk about dreams going up in smoke.