In “Obama, Romney Immigration Silence Hurts Economy,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg argues for the necessity of a bipartisan recognition of immigration reform as a crucial economic issue. According to Bloomberg, “reforming a broken immigration system is the single most important step the federal government could take to bolster the economy.”
Bloomberg illustrates immigrants’ vital role in economic growth, citing that over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or the child of one. Studies by the Kauffman Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute likewise point to the entrepreneurship and productivity of immigrants. In one study, immigrants were found to be twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a new business in 2010. In another, foreign-born workers with advanced degrees from U.S. universities were found to create an average of 2.62 jobs each.
The U.S. jeopardizes its economic growth with outdated policies and politics. According to Bloomberg, whereas other nations award three-quarters of immigrant visas on the basis of employment, “only 7 percent of U.S. green cards have an economic rationale.”
Bloomberg outlines a solution to our nation’s “self-defeating immigration policies,” stating that presidential candidates must “stop using immigration as a prod to excite their respective bases and begin treating it as the serious economic issue it is.” His proposed platform for immigration reform contains four key steps:
“First, provide green cards to foreign students earning graduate degrees in STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] fields. We need these job creators here in the U.S., not taking their U.S. educations to other markets.
Second, increase the percentage of green cards awarded on the basis of economic needs — 7 percent is vastly too small.
Third, create a visa specifically for entrepreneurs. If they succeed and create jobs, they should earn a green card.
Fourth, devise a guest-worker program for seasonal and labor-intensive industries. Farmers in Alabama and Georgia have seen their crops rot in the field because of state legislative and enforcement efforts to drive illegal immigrants away.”