The United States is a nation of immigrants, and our country thrives off of the diversity of its citizens. We are all concerned about our nation’s security and the threat of terrorism, and a key part of our national security strategy must be having safe and secure borders—this is a top priority. We must work harder to stop illegal immigration, but it is also critical that doing so not come at the cost of the legal immigrants who continue to grow our economy, create jobs, and make our country strong.
In fact, immigrants are twice as likely to start new businesses than non-immigrants, and 620 of every 100,000 immigrants found a new business each month. And these are not just small businesses: more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.
Laws like Arizona’s S.B. 1070 are exactly the kind of laws we should not pursue at the federal level. Rather than marginalizing our immigrant population, we should empower them to contribute to our economy and civic life. At home, this means funding bilingual education programs where demand far exceeds supply. It also means increasing the availability of immigrant visas for skilled labor, and streamlining the visa process for graduates of US colleges and universities, especially within engineering and technical fields.
Comprehensive immigration reform has brought together some incredible bipartisan coalitions that are interested in reforming our broken immigration system. We need leaders in Congress who can harness the power of these bipartisan coalitions to move this issue forward.