Sonia Harb: Let's Not Lose the Wiz Kids

Sonia Harb, Director of ACCESS on retaining talent. Reposted from The Progressive.

McClatchy-Tribune

We need to tap the potential of immigrant entrepreneurs and whiz kids.

To do this, we should reform our immigration policy to allocate visas for immigrant entrepreneurs and green cards for immigrants who have earned advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.

Everyone knows this country needs more good jobs. To promote development that makes a real impact, we need to support innovators — people who recognize a need and have the talent, expertise and perseverance to fill it.

Between 1990 and 2005, immigrants founded 25 percent of all public firms in the United States. Software, semiconductors and biotechnology were the top sectors for private immigrant-founded companies with venture backing, according to a study by the National Venture Capital Association.

Immigrants earn half of all new engineering Ph.D.s awarded in this country, according to a study by Global Detroit, a group that seeks to revitalize the economy of southeastern Michigan. With America’s world-class universities, the immigrant community is filling an invaluable resource pool with highly educated, highly motivated entrepreneurs. Why do we drain that pool with antiquated immigration policies?

Immigrants do not take our jobs. They help create them.

We need to reform our immigration policy to give our economy a lift that is long overdue.

Sonia Harb is senior director of the ACCESS Immigrant Entrepreneur Empowerment Center in Dearborn, Mich. She wrote this for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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