New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition

Summer, 2022

News and Views

Pursuing Bipartisan and Evidence-Based Immigration Reform

Today's Immigrants Are Realizing

the American Dream

How successful are today’s immigrants compared to those of a century ago? How well are they adapting to the larger society? Even though their ethnic and racial backgrounds, as well as today's economic circumstances, are so different from the past, are they advancing in a similar manner and continuing to realize the American dream?

These are some of the questions explored in a new book entitled Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success, co-authored by Princeton Professor of Economics Leah Boustan, and Stanford Professor of Economics Ran Abramitzky. One of their more remarkable findings, based on an analysis of tens of thousands of life histories across multiple generations, is that today's immigrants are doing just as well, if not better, than immigrants of the past.

For more information about Leah Boustan's work, check out this interview with Bloomberg journalist Noah Smith. Professor Boustan will be one of our guest speakers at an event co-sponsored by the NJ Business Immigration Coalition and the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce on September 21 (See below for more information).

Click on the above image to listen to podcasts with a select group of immigrant entrepreneurs

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and today's Billion Dollar Private Companies

A new study released by the National Foundation for American Policy examines the pivotal role played by immigrants in founding “unicorn” companies -- defined as privately-held, start-up companies valued at $1 billion or more. There are 582 such companies in the U.S.

Immigrants founded more than half (319 or 55%) of these companies. The number rises to nearly two-thirds (64%) when adding companies founded by the children of immigrants. The author also points out that 143 of these billion-dollar companies have a founder who attended a U.S. university as an international student.

The study finds that these companies with immigrant founders have created an average of 859 jobs per company. The top three immigrant companies for employment are REEF Technology (15,000 employees), Gopuff (15,000) and SpaceX (12,000). Many of these companies are developing cutting-edge technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and health care.

The appendix of the report includes a complete listing of the more than 300 unicorn companies with immigrant founders, with data on country of origin, number of employees, and company valuation.


U.S. Ability to Attract Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Under Threat

Despite the remarkable achievements of immigrant entrepreneurs, the U.S. suffers from the lack of a direct pathway for aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs to qualify for permanent residence. Many countries, including China, Australia, Canada, the UK, Germany, and Sweden, have recently created "start-up visas" for immigrant entrepreneurs. Often these programs have been created for the express purpose of luring immigrant entrepreneurs away from the U.S. The NJ Business Immigration Coalition endorses pending legislation in Congress to create such a visa. Our statement on this legislation is available here.

The NJ Business Immigration Coalition Announces

Winners of its 2022

Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

As New Jersey regains its role as a major center of the film and TV industry, it can give some credit to the winner of the Coalition's 2022 Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year award competition. Born in Bangladesh, Shibber Khan, Principal and Co-Founder of the Criterion Group LLC, purchased an old warehouse in Jersey City in 2019. He and his associates transformed the building into the largest film studio in New Jersey, and also one of the largest in the region. Operated by Cinelease Studies, the facility contains 70,000 sq. ft. of studio and sound stages. Last year, Governor Murphy participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new facility.

Shibber Khan and four other immigrant entrepreneur award winners will be honored at the HOLA Expo and Conference of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce on September 21. The event will take place at Maritime Parc in Liberty State Park from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. The theme of this year's Expo will be "Immigrant-Powered Entrepreneurship." Featured speakers will be James Barrood, former CEO of the NJ Tech Council, and Leah Boustan, Professor of Economics at Princeton University (see story above). For more information about the event and to register, click on this link.

The other distinguished 2022 award winners are: Sheetal Bahirat, Founder & CEO, Hidden Gems Beverage Co. (Ida Rosenthal Young Entrepreneur Award); Mayra T. LaMantia, Founder & CEO, Immigration Community Outreach (Josephine Ho Award for Non-Profit Entrepreneurship); Elisa Neira, Deputy Commissioner, NJ Dept. of Human Services (David Sarnoff Award for Advocacy and Community Engagement); and Amir Ulislam, President & CEO, Jersey Precast (Caspar Wistar Award for Growth).


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Congressional Inaction Leaves DACA-Eligible Young People in the Lurch

With the courts likely to declare the 10-year-old, Obama-era DACA program unconstitutional, the future of more than 800,000 young people brought to America as children looks bleak unless Congress finally takes action.

DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of these young people to get an education and to enter the workforce. Many of them now have young families of their own. A court decision invalidating the program would throw them out of work and disrupt not only their lives but also those of their growing number of dependents.

Employers in New Jersey will also feel the ripple effect: they will have to absorb the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training replacement workers, who may or may not be available to fill these positions.

For these reasons, the New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition is urging the members of the New Jersey congressional delegation to support legislation to create a pathway to full citizenship for DACA recipients, as well as for those barred by court decree from applying to participate in the program. The Coalition outlined its position recently in a two-page statement sent to all members of the delegation.

The Coalition also supports bipartisan legislation recently introduced in Congress to regularize the status of 200,000 “legal dreamers,” i.e. children brought to the U.S. by parents working legally in the U.S. on temporary visas but with approved applications for permanent residence. As their parents wait in line for green cards, their children may turn 21 and lose the right to remain in the U.S.

Although the birth rate has dropped below the 2.1 replacement level in most developed countries, including the U.S., the country with the lowest birth rate in the world is South Korea at .81.

Click here for more information

The two states with the highest birth rates in the U.S. are South Dakota (1.98) and Nebraska (1.94). The two states with the lowest birth rates are Vermont (1.36) and Rhode Island (1.43). New Jersey stands at 1.74.

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For a period of 60 years (1860 to 1920), the percentage of immigrants in the U.S. population fluctuated between 13% and 15%. In 2019, immigrants constituted 13.7% of the U.S. population.

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Although the U.S. has the highest absolute number of immigrants of any country in the world, it actually ranks 66th in the ratio of immigrants to total population.

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GET INVOLVED: We want to hear from you!

Check out our NJ Business Immigration Coalition 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

Choose New Jersey

The New Jersey Land Improvement Contractors Association

The New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition,
c/o Einstein's Alley, P.O. Box 175, Plainsboro NJ 08536,
Newsletter Editor: Nicholas V. Montalto