Although I was born in China, the American dream always inspired my path toward attending colleges in the United States. I obtained both a bachelor’s and master’s degree at UC Berkeley and went on to found my start-up company in Silicon Valley.
A country’s economy can be roughly divided into real economy and fictitious economy, but at the same time, these two types of economies interact with each other. Business plays one of the most important key roles in these two sectors. As an engineer, I will mainly focus on the business in real economy sectors. A real economy typically contains industries such as manufacturing, textiles, construction, petrochemicals and traffic transport, among others. The real economy provides fundamental materials in people’s life, such as food, clothing and travel. Making the economy prosperous should be one of the top priorities for the country’s leaders.
That’s why more immigrants who create companies, like myself and my co-founders, need pathways toward legal status in the United States. We create jobs that Americans need. Thanks to venture capitalists that funded my efforts, I am able to stay in the United States to keep developing the business.
The U.S. fictitious economy is very strong in the world, but its real economy is way underperforming today. There is a huge potential for the United States to make it stronger. One of the keys to make the U.S. real economy stronger is to keep talented, hard-working immigrants, especially immigrants in the STEM fields.
I have dreamed about becoming an engineer ever since I watched the movie Terminator as a kid. Every day since I started my company, I’ve thought about how to make a good product for people to use. It is essential to make products that are useful to real people, in order to strengthen the United States’ real economy.
Good examples of multi-billion dollar hardware product companies in California already exist. Companies like Tesla and Apple were founded by immigrants. In 2014, the United States’ immigrant entrepreneurs owned close to three million businesses, which generated more than $65 billion in business income. The more jobs openings created by entrepreneurs there are, the healthier the economy will be.
For example, one way to make real economy prosperous again is to renew U.S. infrastructure. Currently, it’s out of date. New highways, new bridges and new railways need to be built. The highly skilled workers like engineers who design the highways, bridges and railways not only enable legions of construction jobs to open up but also benefit other real economy industries such as transportation industries that transport people and goods.
We need to reform the current U.S. immigration policies in order to find those highly-trained workers.
A great economy will never have too many entrepreneurs or qualified workers. The United States is a place in the world that can execute its economy’s true potential because the United States is the No. 1 destination that attracts talent immigrants from all around the world, eager to make their American dreams become true.
For each international student who graduates from a U.S. university and remains in the country to work in a STEM-related field, about three additional jobs will be created. They are the high-quality sources of entrepreneurs and high-skilled workers. But many international students graduating from U.S. universities who want to contribute to the U.S. economy end up being sent home, because there are not visas available that would enable them to remain in the United States.
We should create a better path to help them continue pursuing their American dream.
When you give people a chance, they will do amazing things. We have no choice but to make a better world today. Immigration reform is not only about doing the right thing, but it is also an ingenious way to keep a long-lasting robust economy.