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Immigration & Innovation Go Hand-In-Hand

Here’s food for thought . . . Immigration and innovation go hand-in-hand. From the founding of our country, the United States was built on the backs and with the brains of immigrants. This is only illuminated further in Silicon Valley, and throughout America’s innovation economy.

Today, 58 percent of the engineers fueling Silicon Valley’s innovation economy were not blessed to be born in the United States, according to our 2016 “Silicon Valley Competitiveness Project,” researched in partnership with our Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Half of our technology companies being created today have an immigrant as a founder or CEO. Across our country, four of every ten Fortune 500 companies was created by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.

It’s discouraging that some will assert or imply that immigrants are quote “taking away American jobs.” Let’s be clear, and place facts over fear. Fact – The United States economy needs 125,000 graduates each year with Computer Science degrees. Our U.S. colleges and universities only produce 50,000 each year. Ironically, roughly half of those 50,000 graduates are foreign-born. Yes, we only graduate 25,000 American born Computer Science graduates each year, leaving a shortfall of 100,000.

When American employers hire talent from around the globe, the reasons are clear. We are 5 percent of the world’s population. How ignorant and arrogant it would be for us to assume that there are not smart, capable people among the other 95 percent of the world’s population born outside our shores. We will continue to hire the best and brightest born as American citizens, while also hiring the courageous and creative who came here – often at great personal peril – to study here, work here, create and innovate here.

Immigration is the American story, and the secret sauce of Silicon Valley’s robust economy. We will stand up, and speak up, for our rich immigrant tradition.

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