June 6, 2015 G+ Hangout: Let’s Celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month!

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“We have a strange immigration policy for a country of immigrants.  And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world.” ~ Mark Zuckerberg

Unfit for today’s world. The above quote pretty much sums up the reasons why we need to develop policies that address our country’s needs for labor, for competitiveness, for survival in a rapidly moving world. From a historical context that extends to the present day, the contributions of immigrants to this country are undeniable. Immigrants have been, are and will be the driving force of America. Just look at some of the latest numbers:

  • Immigrant-owned firms today employ 1 in 10 U.S. workers
  • Immigrant entrepreneurs are twice as likely to start a business as native-born citizens
  • Immigrants make up 28 percent of Main Street Business owners, and account for 16 percent of the labor force nationally

(Source: SBA)

  • Immigrant-owned small businesses employed an estimated 4.7 million people in 2007, according to the latest estimates
  • Small businesses generate more than $776 billion annually

(Source: Fiscal Policy Institute)

And that is just the economic tip of the iceberg. Immigrants’ contributions to American cuisine, arts and culture, the sciences, and every aspect of society is undeniable. Yet, instead of being celebrated, they have become some politicians’ favorite piñata: The go-to scapegoat for whatever ails the country at any given time. They’re despised, harassed, vilified; their lives torn apart. This calls for a change in the narrative: It’s time for US immigrants to harness our power, claim our stakes and take our immigrant stories on our own hands!

That’s why I simply LOVE the new Immigrant Heritage Month campaign from the folks at Welcome.us and FWD.us. With the goal of bringing together a dynamic coalition of individuals and organizations to encourage every American to tell their immigration story, the campaign examines the complexities of being an immigrant by highlighting and celebrating the diverse experiences, colors and flavors that make up the very fabric of the United States.

This Friday, I have invited some of the folks behind this exciting initiative to discuss why this is the time to celebrate our Immigrant Heritage. My guests:

We’ll discuss why this us such a timely campaign, the steps they are taking to help change the narrative about immigrants in this country, and how YOU can get involved! Watch below, or join us LIVE on G+ on Friday 6/5 at 11:30 am ET!

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