In the United States, politicians often talk about the economy as if it's a fixed pie, over which immigrants and native-born citizens all have to compete for a slice. What we don't often hear about is how immigration grows the pie. To take just one example, look at the data on entrepreneurship, where immigrants have played an increasingly important role in the last 20 years. Researchers at Wellesley College and Harvard Business School conducted a study based on restricted-access Census Bureau data from 1995 to 2008 in 31 States.
They found that, while immigrants make up about 15% of the US workforce, they account for about a quarter of all startup employees, and about a quarter of patent filings. They are also more likely to be company founders, accounting for roughly 27% of all entrepreneurs. For Venture Capital-backed firms it's even higher, closer to 31%. The number of new firms with at least one immigrant entrepreneur connected to its creation is higher still, at 37%.
Finally the firm's founded by immigrants are more likely to be job-creating companies. Although they fail at a faster rate than firms founded by native-born citizen those that survived grow at a faster rate in terms of employment and payroll and that creates a bigger pie for everyone.