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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Friday, April 26, 2024

What Immigrants Bring To America

Today we hear echoes of a frightening anti-immigrant rhetoric that has emerged and reemerged often in American history. Some politicians are now even describing immigrants to the United States as criminal hoards and calling for an outright ban on immigration. Let’s call this rhetoric for what it is: a dangerous fiction that blinds us to the vast contributions made to our country by immigrants and their children. Throughout American history, immigrants have become some of the most brilliant and successful contributors in fields as diverse as business, sports, the arts, and academia. They’ve helped build a rich mosaic of cultures and perspectives and made America the world’s most vibrant economy. While immigrants make up only 14% of the American population, they are responsible for founding over one-third of all new businesses and over half of startups that are valued over $1 billion. Nvidia, the semiconductor maker that now has a market cap of over $2 trillion (for perspective, that’s two thousand billions or two million millions) was founded by an immigrant. PROMOTED Even though most Americans have believed – and continue to believe – immigrants are good for our country, there have often been moments when that was called into question. In the 1850s, The Know Nothing Party spewed hatred at the waves of German refugees from revolutionary Europe and the starving Irish escaping the potato famine in their native land. In the early 20th century, a toxic brew of nationalism, xenophobia, and eugenics – aimed primarily at immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe – led to the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, which drastically reduced immigration and virtually eliminated it from Asia. MORE FOR YOU The Best Romantic Comedy Of The Last Year Just Hit Netflix Apple iPhone 16 Unique All New Design Promised In New Report Rudy Giuliani And Mark Meadows Indicted In Arizona Fake Electors Case As the 2024 campaign heats up, voters now say immigration is the single most important problem facing the country, and most want Washington to do more to stop illegal immigration. Although most Americans continue to believe immigrants benefit our country, fewer people believe in the value of immigration than did just a few a years ago. Investing Digest: Know what's moving the financial markets and what smart money is buying with Forbes Investing Digest. Email address Sign Up By signing up, you agree to receive this newsletter, other updates about Forbes and its affiliates’ offerings, our Terms of Service (including resolving disputes on an individual basis via arbitration), and you acknowledge our Privacy Statement. Forbes is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. In other words, Americans’ justifiable frustration over illegal immigration is starting to dent their support for legal immigration. If that continues, all Americans will be worse off. We do have to secure our borders. But we mustn’t lose sight of the competitive advantage that comes from the world’s smartest and most entrepreneurial people wanting to come here. I’ve spent several years chronicling the journeys of immigrants to the U.S. and the exceptional contributions they have made. These are the kinds of stories that all Americans need to hear to remind them of the enduring value of immigration for our country. symbol 00:02 03:12 Read More Stories like that of Andrew Grove, the longtime president and chairman of Intel, which gave birth to the semiconductor industry. ANDREW S. GROVE, FORMER PRESIDENT OF INTEL Intel's Andy Grove holds a press conference.SYGMA VIA GETTY IMAGES Born Andras Grof in 1936, in Budapest, Grove’s father owned a small dairy business. As a child, Mr. Grove was afflicted with scarlet fever and an ear infection that left him almost deaf. During World War Two, his father was arrested by German troops and sent to a labor camp where he was tortured and worked as a slave laborer. As Jews, the young Mr. Grove and his mother lived in hiding until the war’s end. Liberation from the Nazis was followed by Communist rule in Hungary. In 1956, a popular uprising suppressed by Soviet troops led Grove to flee the country and cross the border into Austria, all the while evading the Russian soldiers. He headed to New York. With no money, very little English, and a severe hearing impairment, Grove moved in with relatives living in a small Bronx apartment and enrolled as a chemical engineering student at the City College of New York. Mr. Grove got through lectures by learning to read lips and then deciphering his notes at home. After receiving a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, Grove joined Fairchild Semiconductor and in 1968, Grove became the third employee of the newly formed Intel. In 1979, Grove became the company’s president, and over the course of two decades, he repeatedly reinvented the company until it became the 7th most valuable public corporation in the world. At Intel, Grove came to be regarded as the father of the semiconductor revolution, which was as momentous as the discovery of hydrocarbon fuels, electricity, and telephones in earlier eras. Jan Koum is the co-founder and former CEO of WhatsApp, the mobile messaging app which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19.3 billion. Co-founder and former WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum gives a keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Co-founder and former WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum gives a keynote address at Mobile World Congress in ... [+]GETTY IMAGES Born in 1976, Koum grew up in Soviet Ukraine in extreme poverty. When the Soviet Union fell, the 16-year-old Koum and his mother moved to Mountain View, California, but their poverty persisted. His mother worked as a babysitter while he swept floors and cleaned shelves at a grocery store. In 2000, Koum’s mother died of cancer. Now on his own, Koum decided he wanted to learn computer programming. He entered San Jose State University and simultaneously worked at Ernst & Young as a security tester. In January 2009, Koum bought an iPhone and realized that the then seven-month-old App Store was about to spawn a whole new industry of mobile applications. On his 33rd birthday, he incorporated WhatsApp Inc. in California. Koum chose the name WhatsApp for his product because it sounded like "what's up." WhatsApp was initially unpopular, but soon after Koum and his friends began to use WhatsApp as a messaging tool, in place of SMS, the app gained a large user base and continued to grow rapidly. On February 9, 2014, Mark Zuckerberg asked Koum to have dinner at his home, and formally proposed an acquisition of WhatsApp and asked Koum to join the Facebook board. Ten days later Facebook announced that it was purchasing WhatsApp, leaving Koum with a personal fortune of $6 Billion. Then there’s Derrick Rossi, a stem cell scientist, serial entrepreneur, and co-founder of the pharmaceutical company, Moderna, which played a key role in the rapid development of the Covid-19 vaccine. Derrick Rossi speaks at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Gala & Science Fair Derrick Rossi speaks at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Gala & Science Fair at Jazz at ... [+]PATRICK MCMULLAN VIA GETTY IMAGES Rossi grew up in Toronto, the son of poor immigrants from Malta. His father was a mechanic who worked in auto shops for 50 years. His mother co-owned a Maltese bakery. Rossi earned his undergraduate and master's degrees in molecular genetics at the University of Toronto and his Ph. D from The University of Helsinki. He went on to an appointment as an associate professor at the stem cell and regenerative biology department at Harvard Medical School. Rossi was fascinated by developing strategies capable of harnessing the clinical potential of stem cells to treat both heritable and acquired degenerative conditions. In 2010, he co-founded Moderna which was focused on RNA therapeutics, primarily mRNA vaccines. These vaccines use a copy of a molecule called messenger RNA to carry instructions for proteins to produce an immune response. From 2020 to 2021, Moderna received $955 million from Operation Warp Speed to accelerate development of its COVID-19 vaccine. The company invested a total of $4.9 billion in the production of 300 million vaccine doses. Moderna currently has more than two dozen therapeutic and vaccine candidates under development for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The stories of Grove, Koum and Rossi and other are ones that have been – and continue to be – written in America hundreds of times over. It certainly isn’t just business where immigrants find success either. You could argue the best player in major league baseball (Shohei Otani) is an immigrant and so are the three best players in the NBA (Nikloa Jokic, Luka Doncic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo). Then there is immigrants’ impact on the sciences: Since 1901, immigrants have been awarded 38% of the U.S. Nobel Prizes in physics, 37% in chemistry, and 34% in medicine. We are lucky that the United States remains the most desired destination for people around the world. They certainly aren’t looking to settle among our adversaries in places like Russia, China, or Iran. Many wonder if the 21st century – like the 20th – will also be an American-led century. The answer to that question could depend on whether we remain a place where people the world over are welcome to pursue their dreams and to create innovations, companies, and jobs that benefit all Americans. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

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