My March for Innovation Started In Sicily
Today I join hundreds of thousands of leaders from politics, business, technology, media, sports, and entertainment – in addition to hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country – in the largest ever virtual march on Washington to support bipartisan immigration reform legislation. Our current immigration policies are antiquated. Reform is long overdue for America.
America is a country whose people believe there is (nearly) always a better way. That spirit of innovation comes from our roots. We are all descendants of a people who moved here seeking a better way forward. Whether your family arrived on the Mayflower, your relatives emigrated through Ellis Island or you studied in our welcoming university system, we are all immigrants at our core who share the common, powerful bond of hope.
Just look at what that belief does for America. It spawns leaders, many of whom are immigrants, who create hundreds of thousands of innovations, multiple millions of jobs and billions of dollars in annualized revenue.
- More than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or a child of an immigrant
- 28% of all companies started in the US in 2011 had immigrant founders
- Immigrants are more than twice as likely as the native born to start a business
- Immigrant-owned businesses generated more than $775 billion in revenue for the US economy in 2011
The four families that I was born into all came here from various places in Sicily – hillside, farm fields, seaside, and city streets. One by one, each member of my emigrant family started or joined a new business. It’s no wonder my parents and their children have all created or contributed to new businesses with better ways.
I have sponsored many H1B visas. In each case I am proud to say every one of those I’ve sponsored have not only remained here in America they have become extraordinary citizens who are driving innovation in business and education. It was a heck of a lot easier to sponsor an H1B visa in the mid-90s than it is today. That needs to change. We are losing talented, willing and highly capable people who can make a huge difference. It’s time our government did something.
The walk for innovation movement is a great demonstration of the entrepreneurial spirit that defines America. I encourage you to help us do whatever we can to keep the American dream alive.