John has already written here at Splice about the anachronistic American immigration laws that make it difficult for skilled, legal immigrants to settle here. Today, The Economist’s Lexington blog makes its own case:
Chinese and Indian immigrants founded more than half of all high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. Immigrants co-founded Google, Intel, eBay and Yahoo. Immigrants contributed to more than a quarter of US global patent applications. Immigrant-founded companies employed 450,000 workers in 2006 and generated $52 billion in revenue.
I don’t know how you could argue with those numbers. One pro-immigration argument has been “America is a nation of immigrants,” but it seems to me that the more effective argument would be to point to the Fortune 500 companies that wouldn’t exist had immigrants not wanted to come to America. Financially, immigration makes sense.
But then again, the anti-immigration views in America largely resemble that infamous South Park "They Took Our Jobs!" episode. But America deserves better. Under Obama, maybe we’ll get something better.