Why immigrants are vital to the future of American entrepreneurship

And yet, Uncle Sam makes it exceedingly hard for them to set up their businesses in the U.S.

A U.S. naturalization ceremony
(Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

You've surely heard this familiar refrain in the immigration reform debate: Newcomers to the country take jobs away from hardworking U.S. citizens. The reality, however, isn't nearly that straightforward. And particularly when it comes to America's small business sector, immigrants actually do our economy a huge service.

Immigrants form and run small businesses at higher rates than the general population, according to data the U.S. Small Business Administration gathered in the 2007 Survey of Small Business Owners. One out of 10 immigrant workers owns a business. Immigrants also tend to start their own businesses with more capital. They're more likely to hire employees, though they hire fewer, on average, than their U.S.-born counterparts.

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