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How New Immigrants Are Helping To Carve The Future Of America’s Innovation

America has always been known as the land of the free and therefore has become a dream for many, even to those outside of its borders. However, an in-depth look will show us how the role of immigrants has driven forward American innovation, so that we may influence the future towards a brighter path.

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“Go back to your own country and stop stealing our jobs” – is the wrong mindset to have

There is a persuasive and compelling narrative in contemporary society that immigrants “steal jobs” and are a negative influence not just on the economy, but society as a whole. And it is this myth that is used to bolster the argument that immigrants are to be blocked and prevented by any means necessary from entering a country, a sentiment that is sadly all too prevalent in the United States.

What America lacks, immigrants make up for

In a recent thought-provoking piece published by Yale University and written by Professor Ahmed Musfiq Mobarak who, himself, is an immigrant from Bangladesh, points out that American secondary schools consistently rank towards the bottom of worldwide league tables both in math and science. Suggesting that America has maintained its position at the cornerstone of innovation thanks to immigrants, rather than despite them.

This is a thought supported by statistics from BRI that point out that close to 40% of all Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants.

Immigrants help boost the economy through innovation

Not only is this innovation present at the elite levels at academia, but pervasive across the broad. In a 2003 survey carried out by the National Survey of College Graduates, it was shown that immigrants patent at double the rate of their native counterparts. In fact, just a one percentage point rise in the number of immigrant college graduates in the populations increases patents per capita by a whopping 6%.

“All immigrants are dregs of the community” – is nothing but a stereotype which only propagates racism

Picture an immigrant in your mind. Most likely, your connotations are negative; filled with ideas of the poor, the destitute, or of criminals. In fact, this is an outdated stereotype that is utterly erroneous with the reality of the immigrant population. A sentiment highlighted in an article by Richard Fry of the Pew Research Center where he points out that immigrants arriving in the US over the last five years were some of the most educated ever in history and most countries recognize this.

In fact, as the New York Times so poignantly comments, “most countries pursue immigration policies to help spur innovation.”

Immigrants should be seen as foreign talent, much like imports on a football team

Supporting this line of thought is a recent report by the The New York Times where it was noted that most engineering PHDs at American Universities go to people born abroad. And not only do they contribute to innovation during their studies, but even once they have graduated. As many then remain in the country and continue to contribute to innovations made by American companies. This point is particularly troubling as finding visas for students can be particularly challenging as they are not technically coming to work.

What is being done to encourage progress in America through gaining foreign talent?

There is some movement forward and signs that individuals are beginning to take note of this problem. Take SF based innovative start-up PassRight, for instance, that has created a platform that works to solve this fundamental problem. Offering hopeful individuals access to a transparent and more affordable platform that works to help more immigrants become American citizens.

Founded by Israeli immigrants Liran Rosenfeld and Gal Talmor, PassRight was created to ease and expedite the immigration process by making it far more transparent. According to Gal Talmor, “the visa application process is broken… Most people don’t know what visa is right for them and what route to take. There’s a lot of money involved, and your livelihood is on the line, and you don’t have control of what’s happening.”

Driven by his personal experiences, CEO Liran Rosenfeld was driven to create the company after struggling to obtain a working visa, despite previously having numerous successful startups, and despite the backing he had from influential individuals within both Hollywood and Silicon Valley. And it was only after spending tens of thousands of dollars on attorneys and having to endure not only financially, but emotionally draining process, that he was finally able to legally work in the United States. And there is no question that this platform has a clear target audience, since launching in 2017 PassRight has already helped over 1000, mostly high tech immigrants gain access into the US through the help of their software. Today PassRight still serves individuals and small startups but recently it switched its focus to serve Silicon Valley Enterprise companies. PassRight’s technology is integrated into the hiring process and it allows corporations to notice tech immigrants with extreme talent. “However,” as PassRight's CTO Gal Talmor says, “for a real change to happen, there needs to be a push from the government itself to welcome more immigrants. Most importantly, they need to work with the private sector in identifying the most talented immigrants and paving the way for them to begin a future in America.” It is only with this sort of forward thinking policy that America can continue to remain at the forefront of innovation and ensure a prosperous and robust future.

Because there really is no doubt that, “These foreign-born inventors are fueling patent awards at the top patent-producing universities, and their innovations and new companies are advancing American industries and creating American jobs.”

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