There is no denying that immigrants built this great nation and are continuing to shape her every passing day. Every day immigrants are coming to America to create a better life for themselves and their families. These immigrants are chasing their own American Dream by starting their own small businesses.
According to research from the Immigration Policy Center, between “2006 to 2010, there were 4,253 new immigrant business owners in New Hampshire.” The IPC also found that in 2010 over 5.7% of all business owners in New Hampshire were foreign-born.
If you listen to Fox News, the only immigrants in America are freeloaders who want to collect welfare and live off the government. This could not be further from the truth. Those ‘lazy immigrants’ account for a significant portion of New Hampshire’s net business income.
“In 2010, new immigrant business owners had a total net business income of $252 million, which is 5.8 percent of all net business income in the state.”
Immigrants are flocking to our country to start their own small businesses in the hopes that someday they will become rich! And for some, that is exactly how it worked.
- New Hampshire is home to many successful companies with at least one founder who was an immigrant or child of an immigrant, including well-known companies such as the footwear company Timberland. Based in Stratham, Timberland currently employs more than 5,800 people and has over $1.5 billion in annual revenue.
- Sonny Vu, originally from Vietnam, and Sridhar Iyengar, the son of immigrants from India, founded AgaMatrix in 2001. Based in Salem, New Hampshire, their company distributes what Vu and Iyengar call the “next generation” of blood glucose monitoring products for diabetes. AgaMatrix invented and in 2012 began producing the first FDA approved blood glucose meter that directly connects to the iPhone and iPod Touch.
- In Manchester, refugees from Bhutan opened a market in July 2013. Himalayas General Store provides familiar products from Bhutan to refugees, but also markets a wider variety of goods to other under-served ethnic groups.
The list goes on and on.
We as Americans have always taken pride in being innovative and entrepreneurial. Many Americans take that giant leap and start their own business. For some the business grows into Apple or Facebook, for others it falls apart after a couple of months. That – the opportunity to at least try – is the American Dream.
Millions of immigrants are stuck waiting for Congress to give them the roadmap to citizenship they need to chase their own American Dream. They are waiting for Congress to take the first step, and let them in.
Immigration is a part of who we are as Americans. I am an Irish, English and Polish “mutt” with roots in New England for over 150 years. Does that make me any less of an American? Would it matter if my grandparents were born in Mexico instead of Ireland? No, it would (and should) not.
People from around the world are coming to the United States; and for hundreds of years we have welcomed them.
What are we waiting for?
Now is the time we should be welcoming immigrants with open arms once again – so they can bring their entrepreneurial spirit with them, to help our economy grow.