With unemployment holding steady around nine percent, a stock market that can be described, at best, as volatile and an increasing cost of living, Americans are dealing with some of the most troubling times seen in decades. These woes are combined with a fiscal crisis that makes any major new spending initiatives politically infeasible and economically suspect.
So Congress must be creative if America hopes to recover from this economic storm and prevent a double-dip recession. Fortunately, there exists a budget-neutral initiative that Congress could enact today to help our companies better compete globally so they can grow and create more and better American jobs. That initiative is to reform our broken immigration laws. I believe this will help stimulate the creation of many small businesses and start-ups, which over time will strengthen America's technology leadership and drive job growth.
Although job creation is priority number one in the fight to restore America's economic future, current immigration policies are making it extremely difficult to bring the jobs of the future to our soil. Entrepreneurs who have found venture capital to back their prospective American businesses are driven to our competitors because there is no visa for them to work here. We train the engineers, scientists, and other highly skilled individuals we need to power the companies of tomorrow, but then we send them home because our antiquated green card system shuts them out. Such policies handicap business and stifle job growth.
It is time for Congress to get the message. And it is time for our local business and political leaders to make sure Congress hears it. That is why it is refreshing to hear statements like the one made recently by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently that "the single biggest thing that the President could do with Congress, is open up the borders to those that will create jobs here." And that is why I recently and proudly joined the Partnership for a New American Economy (www.RenewOurEconomy.org), a bipartisan group of business leaders and mayors promoting the economic imperative of immigration reform.
I don't just believe that immigrants can drive American job growth. I have lived it.
I first came to work in the United States on an H-1 Visa in 1981 and, after only two short years, I had caught the "start-up bug." I returned to my homeland, Israel, where later I founded Chip Express, but I was continuously reminded of the immense possibilities America had to offer my business. After changing our company strategy from selling manufacturing equipment to a chip service provider, I knew I had to return to America in order for Chip Express to flourish.
In 1990 Chip Express opened in Silicon Valley and after just a few years on American soil, we received recognition as a high-tech Fast 50 Company for four consecutive years, reached $40 million in revenue and more than 100 US employees. Later in 1999 I founded another start-up, eASIC. eASIC created tens of additional jobs, won multiple awards, and helped many companies with its unique path to Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). In 2009, at the height of the nation's economic recession, I beat the odds and founded MonolithIC 3D, an award winning company that provided a multitude of job opportunities for Americans when they were needed the most. MonolithIC 3D is driving a breakthrough semiconductor technology that could extend Moore's Law for the next two decades.
My story is not unique. More than 40 percent of America's Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or a child of an immigrant, and there are thousands of entrepreneurs around the world, who, like me, aspire to bring their prospects, skills, and job opportunities here to the U.S. to create the next generation's Fortune 500 companies. Immigration policies, however, are creating a blockade against these potential lifelines from coming here to provide relief for the economic hardships we currently face and pose a real risk to the US being the technology leader. In fact, our immigration policies drove many talented foreign students back to their native countries, where they had been leading their countries' technological progress.
America cannot afford to fall behind. It is in the best interest of America and those who wish to get back to work, to encourage immigration reform. The appropriate new measures will not only allow the best and brightest entrepreneurs of the future to bring their business here, but also create the jobs which will prove to aid in the restoration of America's current economic state.
But reform will not happen until Congress and the American public understand how many American jobs were created because our economy -- the greatest economy in the world -- attracts the brightest minds from the 95% of the world's population that live outside our borders, and also how many jobs we leave on the table by senseless immigration policies that drive many of these minds away. I encourage more business leaders and mayors to follow my lead and join the Partnership for a New American Economy.