Protectionism on Immigration Will Hurt Our Economy More than We Realize

Includes: IYW, XLK
by: Markham Lee

Here is another look at the way protectionism can hurt more than it can help:

(From the "FOR all its current economic woes, America remains a beacon of entrepreneurialism. Between 1996 and 2004 an average of 550,000 small businesses were created every month. One factor is a fairly open immigration policy. Vivek Wadhwa of Duke University notes that 52% of Silicon Valley start-ups were founded by immigrants, up from around a quarter ten years ago. But since 2001 the threat of terrorism and rising xenophobia has made immigration harder. Today more than 1m people are waiting to be granted legal status as permanent residents. Yet only 85,000 visas a year are allocated to the sort of skilled workers that might go on to found successful businesses of their own."

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Graphic Courtesy of

In other words we really need to frame the discussion over protectionism and immigration properly, in that we need to recognize the value we receive from the folks who elect to bring their skills and ingenuity to our shores. This is especially true in the tech arena where a significant percentage of new technology companies are started by immigrants, needless to say our country's leadership position in tech would've been severely hurt if we had kept these folks out of the country.

Our nation's position on immigrant and foreign workers (especially in tech) needs to be based on logic and not fear, lest the next Google is started in another country because we wouldn't let the future founder into the U.S.

Disclosure: at the time of publishing the author didn't own a position in any of the companies mentioned in this article; the ideas expressed are solely the opinions of the author and shouldn't be viewed as financial or investment advice.