A new study showing that immigrants founded one-quarter of U.S. technology start-up companies could fuel calls to relax immigration rules ahead of next month's U.S. presidential elections, where the economy and immigration are key issues, Reuters reported.
The study "America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Then and Now," found that 24.3 percent of engineering and technology start-up companies have at least one immigrant founder serving in a key role.
The study paid particular attention to Silicon Valley, where it analyzed 335 engineering and technology start-ups. It found that 43.9 percent were founded by at least one immigrant.
"High-skilled immigrants will remain a critical asset for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the global economy," wrote the authors of the study, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes entrepreneurship.
One of the authors, Singularity University's Vivek Wadhwa, called for a visa designed for entrepreneurs. "If we had a startup visa, we would have tens of thousands of new startups nationwide," he said in an email.
A separate study released by The Partnership for a New American Economy and the Center for American Progress, "The Economic Benefits of Passing the DREAM Act," estimates that passage of the DREAM Act would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.4 million new jobs by 2030.
The legislation would grant a pathway to legal status to an estimated 2.1 million eligible youths who were brought here at a young age and who complete high school and some college or military service. The DREAM Act report can be found here.