New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition
Spring, 2021
News and Views

Pursuing Bipartisan and Evidence-Based Immigration Reform

Winners of the 2019 Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards:
(From L to R) Anabelle Radcliffe-Trenner (United Kingdom), Veronique Cardon (France), Sandeep Agarwal (India), and Wei Wang (China)

Nominations Open for
Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

One of the less appreciated facts about immigration in New Jersey is the outsized role played by immigrant entrepreneurs in the state and national economy. According to a report by New American Economy, 33 percent of all immigrants in New Jersey (135,615 persons) are entrepreneurs, generating $3.8 billion in business income, and creating work not only for themselves but also for tens of thousands of U.S.-born Americans. Immigrants create businesses not only on Main Street but also in corporate America. In New Jersey, the percentage of immigrant-founded Fortune 500 firms is 55 percent (10 of 18 companies), higher than the national average of 45 percent. These firms employ over 1 million workers in the state.

In recognition of the vital role played by immigrants in the entrepreneurial space, the NJ Business Immigration Coalition will conducts its 9th annual immigrant entrepreneur of the year competition this summer. We confer awards in six categories: growth, advocacy, innovation, nonprofit entrepreneurship, rising star, and entrepreneur of the year. Detailed information about the various categories may be found at this link. If you know of someone deserving of one of these awards, please take the time to submit a nomination form. Immigrants may also nominate themselves. Nominations must be submitted no later than August 15, 2021. The awards are presented at an event hosted by one of our partner organizations. Last year's awards ceremony was held virtually in partnership with the NJ Business and Industry Association.

Opening the
International Talent Pipeline

How can immigration policy promote economic recovery and growth in New Jersey? What is the current state of play in Washington on immigration reform? How can we revive a bipartisan consensus on immigration?

These were some of the questions addressed by panelists at "Opening the International Talent Pipeline: Strategies for Reforming American Immigration Policy to Advance New Jersey's Economy," a virtual event on April 30, 2021, organized by the NJ Business Immigration Coalition in partnership with the NJ Business and Industry Association and Einstein's Alley. Too often in today’s highly polarized discussions of immigration, Americans lose sight of the vital importance of immigration to the future of the American economy. This was one of the themes struck by Jorge Lima, Senior Vice President at Americans for Prosperity in his keynote address (Photo above left).

Lima noted how immigration intersects with so many other issues of concern to Americans, including declining birth rates, a rapidly aging population, the future of the safety net, the stability of the job market, and continued American leadership in science and technology. Lima also pointed out that polling reveals wide areas of common ground on immigration among Americans of different political persuasion. Yet the two parties tend to pursue an “all or nothing” approach, i.e. get everything the party wants or block progress in all other areas. This mentality has led to a 30-year stalemate on immigration policy.

The theme of bipartisanship was also stressed by members of the panel, each of whom talked about the importance of immigration reform from the vantage point of their specific sector of the economy. Panel members included: Ali Bokhari, Global Mobility Manager for Unilever Corporation; Theresa Cardinal Brown, Managing Director, Immigration & Cross-Border Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center; Vicki Clark, President of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce; Neil Dornbaum, Partner and Co-Chair, Corporate Immigration and Global Mobility, Connell-Foley; Miriam Feldblum, Director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration; and Lori Jenssen, Director of the NJ Nursery and Landscape Association. The panel moderator was Ryan Lilienthal, member of the NJBIC Steering Committee and Of Counsel at Hartington King English.

Click here to watch a video of the event

New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Industry Struggles with Worker Shortages

Legal but temporary immigrant workers, sometimes called “guest workers,” have become an important component of the nation’s immigration system. A recent report found that their numbers have grown from roughly 300,000 in 1990 to more than 1.4 million in 2017, and are grouped into 36 different legal classifications -- one of which is the H-2B program. The H-2B program has been a vital source of seasonal labor for the New Jersey nursery and landscape industry. The H-2B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provide for the admission of non-immigrants to perform temporary non-agricultural labor or services. The program is relatively small and is capped at 66,000 visas per year, although Congress has granted authorization to the federal government to increase those numbers in times of worker shortage.

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A bipartisan "Border Solutions Act" has been introduced in both houses of Congress. The Bill would provide additional resources and personnel for border processing, create regional border processing centers, and ensure minimal standards in the processing of asylum claims.

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Three other, stand-alone bipartisan bills may have a better chance for passage in this session of Congress than a comprehensive immigration reform bill: the Dream Act of 2021, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act of 2020.

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President Biden has re-established a Task force on New Americans, a cross-agency effort to promote the full participation of immigrants in American life. The Task Force will work under the auspices of the Domestic Policy Council.

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The State of New Jersey has issued a report reviewing the accomplishments of its Office of New Americans during its first year of operation.

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A new study finds that Immigrants to the United States play a pivotal role in global knowledge production and scientific breakthroughs.

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GET INVOLVED: We want to hear from you!

  • Check out our policy platform here and if your company or organization (or you as an individual) agrees with our principles for immigration reform, sign up as a member of the coalition.

  • Share your thoughts on the immigration reform challenges facing the United States. How is your industry affected? What specific reform proposals are you championing? Write us at:
Welcome to New Members of the
NJ Business Immigration Coalition

Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce
Mercer County Community College
Middlesex College
New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association
The New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition,
c/o Einstein's Alley, P.O. Box 165, Plainsboro NJ 08536,