What Would the US and Silicon Valley Look Like Without Tech Industry Immigration?

What Would the US and Silicon Valley Look Like Without Tech Industry Immigration?

Over the last two weeks I have been doing a significant amount of outreach to my professional network regarding a Kickstarter campaign that I am launching next Monday, February 20th, in support of my new book: PLAN COMMIT WIN: 90 Days to a Fundable Startup.  Although I am super excited about this project, I wanted to relay some observations from my outreach campaign.

I have worked in various aspects of the tech industry my entire career. Like many people my age, when I worked in tech in the early 1980s, it was focused on aerospace defense. I worked for a military contractor, then a specialty materials supplier that supported aerospace, defense, and electronics. After grad school, I moved to Silicon Valley in 1992, where I spent the next 22 years, 10 of those in the San Francisco Bay Area, working in the semiconductor industry.

I have a pretty extensive network of engineers, tech executives, venture capitalists, bankers, investors, attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, and the like.  In reaching-out to my professional network, I have noticed that about two thirds of my closest business contacts were not born in this country. Many came to the US for grad school, or on H1-B visas. These are hard working men and women who are some of the brightest and most capable people that I know. They are from Israel, India, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Great Britain, Iran, Egypt, South Africa, Australia and many other places around the globe.

Working in Silicon Valley, it is not about being Muslim or Hindu or Christian or Jewish or atheist or agnostic. It is about winning and driving business success.

My friends and colleagues that are immigrants are in all levels of companies, but many of these people are also in senior management and executive positions. If I go through the list of company founders and CEOs that I know personally that have taken companies from pre-product and pre-revenue to a successful IPO on NASDAQ or the NYSE, I think I am one of the very few who is white and was born in the USA. Some of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances that have also accomplished this are from Hungary, Germany, France, Israel, Iran, Taiwan, China, Russia, South Africa, and India. These tech leaders are legal immigrants who have created hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs, over half of them being right here in the US. We live in a global economy. This is especially true in the tech world. If you want to be a global economic powerhouse as a company, you need to think globally.

I am against illegal immigration into our country. Why should we have laws if we are going to ignore them? However, I am a strong proponent of not only letting the best and bright minds from around the world educate themselves in our great universities, I’m a strong advocate of doing everything we possibly can to keep them in the US after graduation. There is a global war for talent. Reducing everything to the least common denominator is not only idiotic, it is possibly the most destructive thing we could do to the US economy.

I consider myself a patriot. Of course, with a name like Patrick Henry, I have a natural bias toward that. I believe that you can have strong advocacy for legal immigration to the US and still consider yourself a patriot. I think the foundation of the economic system in our country was and is built on this concept.

This is Patrick Henry, CEO of QuestFusion, with The Real Deal…What Matters.

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