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Immigrant entrepreneurs making a big impact

While many immigrants come to the United States so that they can earn a living and send money home to their families, the goods and services they produce improves the country’s economic function, a new report indicates. As a result, officials are calling on lawmakers to reform immigration laws so more immigrants will be motivated to enter the U.S.

According to the results of a report conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration, immigrant entrepreneurs are a valuable asset that the country needs to better its financial well-being, based upon analysis of businesses started by immigrants. These jobs have led to the creation of millions of jobs for U.S. workers, and in so doing, have contributed to the country’s financial health.

“Regardless of one’s school of thought, there is very little disagreement among researchers and experts that immigrant entrepreneurship is a powerful and valuable asset to America’s economic future,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council. “There has been a lot of attention paid to the high tech, highly educated immigrant entrepreneur, this report reinforces that it is less about your degree or the product you produce, and far more about recognizing a need in your community and having the skills and commitment to bring a dream to life.”

Included among the reports findings are details about some of the country’s most successful businesses that were started by immigrants. For example, Sergey Brin of Google and Pierre Omidyar of eBay have helped millions of Americans find gainful employment since their respective organizations were established.

“The U.S. Small Business Association estimates that small businesses have generated 64 percent of the net new jobs over the past 15 years and credits immigrant businesses with a significant contribution to this job growth,” said Marcia Drew Hohn, director of the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center and the report’s lead author.

Including immigrant entrepreneurs’ successes, the report also describes their challenges, many of which may be improved through comprehensive immigration reform.

The U.S. Chamber and IPC also offer several recommendations regarding how these changes can be implemented. This includes the Department of Homeland Security making it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to start a business by cutting back on the amount of paperwork and documentation that’s required. The groups also say Congress should also develop a visa category that’s specifically for immigrant entrepreneurs. These would help immigrants establish residency more quickly so that they can get their businesses up and running.

Helpful links:

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy

The Small Business Administration

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