According to Sherman Baldwin, CEO of LCR Capital Partners, America is uniquely situated to be the world’s talent magnet and growth engine for the next century. Its strength lies in its rewarding of merit, skill, the willingness to take risks, and “grit” or resilience—traits that immigrants have in spades. In fact, in the past 20 years, 55% of the founders of Silicon Valley “unicorns” (startups with valued at over $1 billion) have been first-generation immigrants, and, as of 2021, 44% of all Fortune 500 companies have been founded by immigrants or their children. This combination of merit, skill, and grit is the main reason that Americans should view immigration not as a problem to be solved, but rather as an important driver of American innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation. The American economy would not be as robust as it is without the important, and continuing, contributions of immigrants. Baldwin’s argument contains an unusual wrinkle—he doesn’t lump together the talented, the skilled, and the grittily resilient immigrants into one basket. In fact, some of the grittiest immigrants lack the privilege, the education, and the wealth that characterize many of the most successful immigrants—but they do have the drive to succeed. Baldwin proposes a guest worker program that would allow the hardest-working, law-abiding immigrants into the US to pursue a path leading to permanent residency in 5 to 7 years. Baldwin even suggests scaling up the existing EB-5 immigrant investor program such that America’s crumbling infrastructure could be repaired through EB-5 projects that would solve two problems at once: the development and repair of critical infrastructure at the same time that workers are kept employed though their contributions to such projects.
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