On Tuesday, August 14th Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch visited Boston to tout the economic benefits to the United States of a liberal immigration policy focused on entrepreneurship and job creation.  At a forum hosted by the New England Council, where they were introduced by Boston’s mayor Thomas Menino, Bloomberg and Murdoch took turns describing the positive economic impact to the U.S. of immigrants who bring investment and set up both large and small businesses in the United States.  Indeed, Bloomberg and Murdoch spoke passionately about the vital role that immigrants play in American society.

 No doubt they were in part inspired by the statistics in the recently released study published by the Partnership for a New American Economy, of which both Bloomberg and Murdoch are members.  The August 2012 report, titled “Open for Business – How Immigrants are Driving Small Business Creation in the United States,” presents important key findings about the impact of immigrant entrepreneurs on the U.S. economy.  Among these findings are the following:

  • Immigrants are increasingly likely to start a business, while the rate of new-business generation among the native-born is declining.  Indeed immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business as the native-born.
  • Immigrants started 29 percent of all new U.S. businesses in 2011, despite accounting for just 12.9 percent of the U.S. population.
  • Immigrant businesses are smaller than those started by the native-born, but their collective impact on the U.S. economy is huge and growing.  Immigrant firms now generate more than $775 billion in revenue; $125 billion in payroll; and $100 million in income, employing one out of every 10 workers.
  • Immigrants start more than 25 percent of all businesses in seven of eight sectors of the economy that the U.S. government expects to grow the fastest over the next decade.

Hoping to influence the political debate on immigration as the nation enters the final phase of the presidential election season, Bloomberg and Murdoch emphasized and echoed the theme of the August 2012 report and of the Partnership for a New American Economy generally, namely that any serious plan on job growth must recognize and welcome immigrant entrepreneurs, who in the coming years will play an out-sized role across the country and across industries in starting new businesses, creating new jobs, and driving economic growth.

It is expected that Mayor Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch will take this show on the road and hold similar forums in other major cities where the presidential campaigns have a significant presence.  Whether they will in fact influence the national debate on immigration policy remains to be seen.