Immigration was the talk of the country about two years ago, but it was barely mentioned in the election after the primaries ended. That's probably because it was one of the issues where Obama and McCain agreed the most, both having voted for President Bush's comprehensive immigration reform bill.
But for those interested in enhancing America's entrepreneurial spirit as it goes through a rough time, immigration is an issue that should not be ignored. A new study for the SBA by Rob Fairlie of UC Santa Cruz lays out why:
Immigrants are nearly 30 percent more likely to start a business than
nonimmigrants, and they represent 16.7 percent of all new business owners in the
United States. In California, immigrants constitute 34.2 percent of all new
business owners each month and they represent roughly 5 percent of all new
business owners in the United States. Nearly 30 percent of all new business
owners per month in New York, Florida, and Texas, are immigrants.
The total business income generated by immigrant business owners is $67 billion,
11.6 percent of all business income in the United States. Immigrant business
owners generate nearly $20 billion or one-quarter of all business income in
California, and nearly one-fifth of all business income in New York, Florida, and
Obama has been a supporter of an easier path to legal citizenship. That's a pro-entrepreneur stance that should not get lost as we debate economic stimulus, environmental policy, infrastructure policy, etc. Considering how important immigrant businesses are to the U.S. economy apparently, smoothing out our complicated immigration system is a stimulus policy in itself.