Emily Baker

by & filed under Immigration, Issues, NVCA Blog.

The much-talked about Wall Street Journal piece from Rupert Murdoch on the urgent need to pass immigration reform shines a bright light on the need for Congress to come together and act. While Murdoch is one of many, many voices championing this issue, his piece stands in contrast to the cacophony of voices who are sending immigration reform to the legislative graveyard.

Murdoch’s voice is important because he makes one point crystal clear: Immigration reform is not dead. As a nation we cannot pass on this opportunity to reform our immigration system because the engine of the U.S. economy—innovation and entrepreneurship—depends on the foreign-born entrepreneurs who come to America to build new businesses.

Murdoch, an Australian-American, is the founder and CEO of News Corp, a media conglomerate significant not only for its size (24,000 employees) and influence, but also for its roots. Murdoch writes, “I chose to come to America and become a citizen because America was—and remains—the most free and entrepreneurial nation in the world.”

Immigration is always a lightning rod issue fraught with political landmines, but more progress has been made in this Congress than at any time in the last decade. The future of U.S. innovation depends on the decisions we make today. Congress needs to act now to ensure America welcomes the talent that can build next-generation companies and drive economic growth.

As Murdoch argues, legislative action that reflects the will of the people and the diversity of stakeholders involved in this debate, ranging from the agricultural groups to the evangelical community and to law enforcement to entrepreneurs, will be embraced and upheld to a degree that would not be possible should the President act alone.

Despite the significant political hurdles in place that go well beyond the midterm elections and changes in the House Republican leadership, our coalition of entrepreneurs, corporations and organizations like the Partnership for a New American Economy and FWD.us know that we must march onward toward victory.

NVCA has long advocated for immigration reform through the testimony of our members like Venky Ganesan of Menlo Ventures, Jason Mendelson of Foundry Group and Shervin Pishevar of Sherpa Ventures who testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and Jeffrey Bussgang of Flybridge Capital who testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. They have been instrumental in building the case for a Start-Up Visa for foreign-born founders who come to the U.S. to start and build companies.

Within the venture capital community; many investors, like the entrepreneurs they work with to build tomorrow’s technologies, come from across the globe and have seized the opportunities America offers.

Shervin Pishevar is an incredible example of what is possible in the America. Pishevar’s family escaped the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran and arrived in Washington, DC. Despite hardships, Pishevar attended a magnet high school, went onto Berkeley and eventually founded the pioneering company WebOS. Since then, Shervin has continued to shape the world we live in as a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist and angel investor. The companies he founded have reached an aggregate of 100 million users.

Immigrant-founded public companies have a total market capitalization of $900 billion and employ approximately 600,000 people worldwide, the majority of which are in the United States. Our future depends on welcoming people from across the world to America, not just because they play an outsized role in our economy, but because the contributions immigrants make to our country benefit everyone.

As Murdoch writes, “Do Americans really wish Google, eBay, Pfizer or Home Depot were headquartered in Eastern Europe or China instead of America? Whether it’s a high-profile tech company or a small business employing just 10 people, 28% of all new American businesses started in 2011 were founded by immigrants. Those are entrepreneurial people we want to continue to attract to our economy.”