March 10, 2017
Immigrant Entrepreneurs Make America Great
As an immigrant with an entrepreneurial spirit, I empathize with the challenges that foreigners or immigrant entrepreneurs face when starting or expanding their business in the United States. I not only believe in the American dream; I am the American dream. I was educated in two legal systems: common law and civil law.
As an immigrant with an entrepreneurial spirit, I empathize with the challenges that foreigners or immigrant entrepreneurs face when starting or expanding their business in the United States.
I not only believe in the American dream; I am the American dream.
I was educated in two legal systems: common law and civil law. I earned dual law degrees and practiced law in Paris, and New York City. Always, I longed to own my own firm. My ultimate vision was to become a strategic advisor to foreign nationals and entrepreneurs wishing to enter the US business market.
My story is a classic example of try, try again, try harder; I faced challenges of trial and error while navigating the educational system, the real estate market during the process of buying my first home, and of course, the ultimate challenge of opening my own shop.
As I follow the unveiling of new policies by the current administration of my country, certain totems of my education often come to mind. Law school; where I learned that without evidence, there is no case.
Early in 2017, I watched in disbelief as our newly elected President signed two executive orders, commonly referred to as “travel bans,” suspending migration to the US from some Muslim countries, and halting the admission of refugees in the US for a time period.
If I was arguing the validity of this policy in a court of law, my training would lead me to argue that these new immigration policies are targeting people without real evidence that they are actually a threat to our country.
I believe wholeheartedly in fair-minded, non-discriminatory immigration policies.
I believe our governing body should implement policies that ensure immigrants do not emigrate to my country illegally. I would argue that the real issue at hand is to focus on certain groups that pose clear threats to our nation, instead of entire countries and subsets of cultures.
I would argue that we practice what I know to be the American way – to look at everyone with impartiality.
The system is far from perfect. We need conversations, and smart policies implemented to protect our borders – those seeking entry into the US should be properly vetted, and provide proper business clearance.
Historically, witch hunts have taught us that those that get burned, in the end, are more often than not innocent.
While conducting research for my company Facebook page, the Business Immigration Community Resource, I was overwhelmed by statistics that I learned as I delved into articles, and not for profit organizations working toward immigration reform alongside the likes of Bill Gates.
- Foreign Entrepreneurs establish more than 25% of US businesses.
- Even as far back as 2007, according to a study from the Fiscal Policy Institute, 900,000 immigrants are among small-business owners in the United States, about 18 percent of the total.
- Immigrants constitute 15% of the general U.S. workforce, but they account for around a quarter of U.S. entrepreneurs. This is comparable to innovation and patent filings, where immigrants also account for about a quarter of U.S. inventors.
Fundamentally, the US is a country of immigrants. The Statue of liberty is a symbol of what makes this nation extraordinary: the inclusion of all.
I fear the rhetoric of nationalism, and its power over those that have forgotten why America was great in the first place.
After abolishing slavery, welcoming immigrants with open arms to bolster our workforce, and diversifying our economies, we forged a new philosophy of one great indivisible nation. It was never about “Americans first,” or “us versus them.”
Rejecting a potential new member of our great country based solely on their country of origin is a giant collective step backwards. It dishonors those that fought and died to make America a country where everyone is welcomed from all over the world, where people gather together to build dreams and make the world a better place for all.
My closing argument would be this; if you live in the United States, unless you are of Native American descent, you are an immigrant. You live in America, where you have the freedom to be yourself. To be different.
As an owner of a business immigration law firm, I work to facilitate the American dream. My mission is to assist the integration of foreign entrepreneurs into the US business market, by providing legal representation so they can focus on what they do best: building their business.
I am of African and French origin, and I am an American. Alongside my clients, I will never stop working to make America as great as it can be.
*At the time this article was published, federal courts have ruled against the implementation of a travel ban in the US.