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Entrepreneurship and Innovation Newsletter - September 12, 2013

Latest Research
  • U.S. must confront challenges of attracting global innovation talent: A September 9 post summarizes a new report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) about the policy challenges related to attracting individuals from the global talent pool. The authors, recognizing that human capital is “the one resource that can propel firms and economies to the top tier of competitiveness,” identify and describe the various factors and policies that countries should consider when designing strategies for immigrants across the skills spectrum and conclude with three observations moving forward.
  • Immigrant business owners continue to contribute to communities across America: An August 29 post describes the latest additions to the Immigration Policy Center’s new state fact sheet series on immigrant entrepreneurs, innovation, and local welcoming initiatives. In particular, the new state fact sheets (20 states available so far, with more on the way) shine a spotlight on the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation to local economies, and ways in which local leaders recognize this importance and encourage an inclusive environment through local welcoming and integration initiatives.
  • Immigrant entrepreneurs help build the U.S. economy, so our immigration system should encourage entrepreneurs to invest in America: A post on August 21 outlines a new report from the National Venture Capital Association about the impacts immigrant entrepreneurs – such as those who helped found major U.S. corporations – have on the U.S. economy. And an August 22 post describes what the new report says about our dysfunctional immigration system and how it limits immigrant entrepreneurship and innovation: “that there is no reliable immigration program for foreign entrepreneurs, who must surmount enormous legal difficulties in order to come here to create businesses and drive innovation and job growth.”
  • Interactive maps help visualize national and state trends in U.S. immigration: New interactive maps from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Immigration and the States project highlight national and state trends and actions over the past several decades. According to Pew, “these maps illustrate the growth of the foreign-born population in the states from 1980 to 2010, and the text provides a snapshot of key immigration-related activities at the federal and state levels.”
  • Analysis of contemporary immigrant gateways in a historical perspective shows that immigrants are a part of many cities throughout the United States: A new article from Audrey Singer at the Brookings Institution focuses on settlement trends of immigrants during the periods that bookend the twentieth century, which were both eras of mass migration. It compares settlement patterns in both periods, describing old and new gateways, the growth of the immigrant population, and geographic concentration and dispersion. Today, immigrants have made their way to new metro areas, particularly in the South and West, and have begun to choose the suburbs over cities following the decentralization of jobs and the movement of opportunities to suburban areas. There are now more immigrants in U.S. suburban areas than cities.
  • Effective policies can help attract and retain investment in a competitive global economy: In an August 22 policy analysis report, Daniel Ikenson of the Cato Institute describes foreign direct investment in the United States and how various policies can help or hinder the business environment for such investment. In particular, the report describes how various policy areas can impact FDI, including immigration policy. Relating to outdated immigration policies as an investment deterrent, he states, “if a dearth of skilled workers is cited as an investment deterrent, the spotlight should be shone on U.S. education and immigration policy failures with the goal of finding the right solutions.”
  • Analysis of current visas and proposed legislation highlights need for an effective entrepreneurship visa: A recent report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) reviews the need for a workable entrepreneurship visa and offers an overview of the current immigration system’s shortcomings for immigrant entrepreneurs. The report highlights a May 2013 quote from Canada’s Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, who stated, “It’s really difficult for talented immigrants to stay in the U.S. permanently…If you’re a young startup entrepreneur having trouble renewing your visa, come here! We offer immediate permanent residency.” Although recent proposals from the Senate and House would offer much needed reforms for immigrant entrepreneurship, the report summarizes some of CEI’s perceived inadequacies in those new proposals.
News Updates
  • Immigrant entrepreneurs and small business owners follow the American Dream and give back to their local communities: In a two-part series, the Vancouver-Southwest Washington Business Journal examines the impact of Southwest Washington’s immigrant entrepreneurs. Part One describes immigrant businesses by the numbers and highlights stories of particular immigrant entrepreneurs as they follow their American Dream. Part Two discusses more stories of particular immigrant business owners, their positive economic impacts on the local region, Vancouver, Washington’s international district, and how immigrant businesses overcome obstacles.
  • Business leaders tell lawmakers not to forget about immigration: In a September 10 piece, The New York Times’ Julia Preston highlights a new letter sent to Members of Congress from over 100 executives at some of the country’s most well-known companies urging Congress not to forget about immigration. The letter was signed by 110 human resource executives for companies that have not been prominent players in the immigration debate up to now, including AT&T, Procter & Gamble, CVS Caremark Corporation, American Express, Allstate Insurance, The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, American Airlines, 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company. Making the same point, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also re-issued a letter from late July that was signed by more than 450 companies and business groups.
  • Despite other “crises” Congress is preparing to take up this fall, the tech industry will continue to push for immigration reform: A September 11 piece in Politico describes the tech industry’s position as it continues to press lawmakers on immigration reform. Indeed, Scott Corley, executive director for Compete America, stated, “We’re not going to accept the crisis excuse. There is always a crisis. Immigration is a crisis. Being in Congress you have to walk, chew gum, juggle knives and jump through hoops on fire all at once. That’s the job.”
  • Cities should seek ways to maximize opportunities for immigrant economic participation, cultural vitality, and civic engagement: A recent commentary from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Urban Institute suggests that cities such as Charlotte should become places of welcome and learn from other cities that already recognize the important contributions of immigrants. In particular, the author states, “We are falling behind peers like Austin, Texas; Boston; Houston and the [Research] Triangle. Those are places where community leaders and corporate partners are coming together to craft initiatives to promote a welcome environment, one that will create the most opportunity for immigrant settlement and integration… Learning from other cities, we can develop a Charlotte-oriented plan to maximize opportunities for immigrant economic participation, cultural vitality, and civic engagement.”
  • Urban researcher points to Houston as an example of a city that has embraced immigrants and is thriving: In an August 27 segment of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS about understanding the world’s urban future, the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program’s Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley – who co-wrote “The Metropolitan Revolution” – weighed in on their perspective of metropolitan areas in the U.S. Specifically, Bradley offered Houston as an example of a booming city: “Houston, which is booming because it has embraced immigrants, has said, ‘you’re here to work, and we want to help you start up the economic ladder’.”
  • As Congress dawdles, immigration reform is essential to attract the best and brightest: In a September 9 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Steve Case, former CEO of America Online, notes the need for immigration reform in order to maintain and strengthen America’s global competitiveness. In this piece, Case summarizes what other countries have recently been doing to bolster their efforts to attract skilled immigrants from the global talent pool. He warns that a critical choice lies ahead for Congress this fall regarding immigration reform – a choice which will determine our economic competitiveness for decades.
  • Beyond its moral dimensions, immigration is an economic issue: Joe Green, the president and founder of, urged in a September 6 Wall Street Journal commentary that we should not reduce our strength as a magnet economy. Green writes, “The great cities of history—places like Athens, Rome, London, Hong Kong, New York and my hometown, Los Angeles—have been magnets for talent. In a global economy, it is now nations that are the talent magnets.” Speaking of multiplier effects, he describes how the arrival of a talented person launches a cascade of events: new products, opportunities, companies, and jobs. When our immigration system turns away talent, we reduce our strength as a magnet economy.
  • Broad agreement on the need for reforms to high-skilled worker visas underscores the need for immigration reform: In a September 6 piece for National Journal, Rebecca Kaplan notes that many people agree on high-skilled worker visas. And she asks, “So why no changes?” Kaplan goes on to describe the overall agreement that high-skilled immigration is important to the U.S. economy and that companies have a hard time filling open high-skilled positions. In particular, she mentions several stories and perspectives from immigrants and business leaders themselves. For example, Microsoft’s senior policy counsel, Bill Kamela, notes that if the visa system remains in disrepair, “we will be forced to move jobs overseas. That is our real predicament as a company.”