This Post Has Been Updated
Donald Trump accepted the GOP nomination for President in a combative speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, slamming immigrants while linking them to rising crime rates and taking away jobs from American citizens. Trump also echoed his campaign’s controversial promise to build a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border.
“We are going to build a great border wall,” said Trump to a cheering crowd, saying this will “stop drugs, crime and violence.”
While some Trump-watchers expected a general election ‘pivot’ to a more mainstream message, this remains unmistakeably clear: The GOP nominee for President of the U.S. is still turning his back on immigrants, an increasingly important group of voters, and the greatest group of entrepreneurs in America.
Through his highly successful books, seminars, and his TV show “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump has promoted achieving the American dream through entrepreneurship, which is why it’s so perplexing — and infuriating — to see him turn his back America’s most dynamic group of entrepreneurs — immigrants!
Given Trump’s remarkable ability to recognize opportunities – one of the keys of being a successful entrepreneur — why on earth hasn’t he, as the official Republican presidential nominee, recognized the immense value that immigrants offer this country?
Why doesn’t the Republican nominee for President recognize the immense value and opportunity that immigrants offer this country?
The truth is that immigrant entrepreneurs are an engine of economic growth and a key to America’s future prosperity. Consider these telling (and woefully underreported) statistics:
- Immigrants are the fastest growing, most dynamic business market in the US, launching businesses at twice the rate of American born entrepreneurs, and accounting for approximately 82,000 new business launches each and every month.
- Immigrants launched almost 30% of all new businesses in the US last year – despite making up only 13% of the population.
- Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs for Americans. Immigrant owned businesses employ 1 out of 10 Americans working in the private sector.
- Immigrant entrepreneurs contribute billions of dollars to our country’s tax base. Immigrant-owned firms generate more than $775 billion in revenue, $125 billion in payroll, and $100 billion in income.
- While immigrant entrepreneurship rates have been soaring, entrepreneurship rates for the American born have fallen. In 2014, US born rates of entrepreneurship dropped 10% — a 30 year low.
Every time I highlight these eye-popping stats at a business meeting, people are amazed. Why? Because they’re not used to hearing about immigrants in a positive light, our positive voices are simply being drowned out by the ill informed rhetoric being touted by Trump and many of his supporters.
Why aren’t we talking about the fact that immigrants account for some 30% of new small businesses created every year in America?
So here’s my question for The Donald: Instead of building walls and sending people “home“, why aren’t we talking about the fact that immigrants account for some 30% of new small businesses created every year in America; that they have created 1 out of 10 private sector jobs for Americans; that they contribute billions of dollars to our tax base —all at a time when native-born entrepreneurship has hit a 30-year low?
Immigrant firms employ 1 out of 10 Americans.
As immigrant-created companies grow and succeed, they increasingly become the engine of the US economy, creating jobs and opportunities right here in America, while so many larger US companies continue to outsource jobs to China, India and Mexico. Go to any major US city, and you’ll find that immigrant businesses are helping revitalize lost neighborhoods and communities ravaged by a failing economy.
As an immigrant entrepreneur myself – I co-founded DiversityInc.com in 1999 and then launched Immigrant Business in 2013 – I have a highly personal yet informed perspective. Like the vast majority of immigrants living and working in the US, I love my adopted country. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to come to this country, to take advantage of the opportunities America offered and to build a new life. Unlike most native-born Americans, we immigrants still see this country as the land of opportunity, the one place in the world where your dreams can really come true. Why? Because so many of us come from countries where such opportunities, freedoms and liberties simply don’t exist.
Isn’t it time that we hold a real conversation about the value that immigrants bring to America? And how we should welcome immigrants, and nurture their entrepreneurial spirits, rather than focus solely on the hot-potato politics of banning whole religions, building walls and kicking people out?
Together, we can change the nature of this conversation, from polarizing and destructive to a highly constructive dialogue. By encouraging and welcoming immigrant entrepreneurs we’ll rebuild our economy, create jobs and really make America great again.
Founder and Publisher