New York Industry Leaders Discuss Economic Incentives of Commonsense Immigration Reform

Posted by Caron Creighton on 09/30/2016

New York Industry Immigration

On September 23, leaders from several of New York’s major industries, including real estate, tech, fashion, film, hospitality, and business made the case for commonsense immigration reform as part of a discussion detailing the role immigrants play in our country’s economy.

Speakers included Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of The Partnership for New York City; Ken Biberaj, Vice President of Russian Tea Room and Chairman of the Board of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce; MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies; Fashion Designer Nanette Lepore; Kevin Ryan, Founder and Chairman of MongoDB, and Chairman and CEO of AlleyCorp; and Writer and Film Director Paola Mendoza. The panel was moderated by Eric Gertler, CEO of Ulysses Ventures, and former President of U.S. News & World Report.

The conversation marked the first time that leaders representing a cross-section of New York businesses convened to discuss the urgent need for reform.

“Today’s robust discussion among a diverse group of business leaders reinforces the need for commonsense immigration reform to ensure that the United States remains a global leader of innovation as well as a beacon of equality and opportunity to the world,” said moderator Eric Gertler.

One of the main topics discussed was the need to diversify the workforce with talented individuals from around the world.

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“Ready access to a diversity of global talent is what U.S. employers want from our national immigration policy, along with a commonsense resolution of the legal status of immigrants who are already here,” said Kathryn S. Wylde, President and CEO of The Partnership for New York City. “In New York City, immigrants represent 47% of our small business owners, and form a large share of our professional employees and of the student population at our many universities and research centers. Immigration is what fuels our growth and our leadership in the global economy.”

Kevin Ryan, Founder and Chairman of MongoDB, echoed Wylde’s call for a diverse workforce.

“We can either create high-paying jobs in the United States or push innovative companies away, delivering those jobs to other countries,” said Ryan. “Many of the people hired at innovative companies in the tech industry get their start here and then start their own companies a few years later, creating even more jobs. The U.S. economy needs to attract these people for the long term if we want to maintain our technological edge.”

“We can either create high-paying jobs in the United States or push innovative companies away, delivering those jobs to other countries.”

Ken Biberaj, Vice President of New York’s iconic Russian Tea Room, agreed that diversity is important for all types businesses.

“Diversity is the secret ingredient that makes New York City restaurants the most important and influential in the world,” said Biberaj. “Immigrants are the lifeblood of the industry – out front serving guests, in the kitchen perfecting recipes, and setting up new restaurants as entrepreneurs–without their innovation and hard work our melting pot would be noticeably less flavorful. Commonsense immigration reform is essential to preserving the character and success of New York, and maintaining our restaurant industry as an economic powerhouse,” shared Biberaj.

Nanette Lepore, a veteran of New York’s fashion industry who manufactures her clothing locally, shared her personal experience of relying on immigrants to help successfully run her business.

“When I started my business in New York City’s Garment District in 1987, I relied on immigrants from all over the world to help me produce my collections,” said Lepore. “The old Jewish men supplied my trims and embroideries, the Chinese and Korean immigrants sewed my garments together, the South Americans and Mexicans worked in the cutting rooms and the Italian tailors made my patterns. All of them shared their knowledge and expertise. They genuinely wanted to help me grow a successful business. It is this immersion and integration of international craftsmanship that keeps the New York City fashion industry thriving.”

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New York-based filmmaker Paola Mendoza reiterated Lepore’s discussion, sharing her own experience as an immigrant.

“New York’s film industry is fueled by international talent, from actors and directors to scriptwriters and producers,” said Mendoza. “Immigrants are powerful storytellers who, for generations, have drawn on distinct cultures and traditions from around the world to captivate audiences. As both a filmmaker and a Colombian immigrant, I’ve seen firsthand the creativity that immigrants have contributed and continue to contribute to American cinema. It is through my work as a filmmaker that I hope to show the world the humanity that lies within each of us.”

The discussion was hosted by FWD.us as part of a series of events entitled, The Economics of Commonsense Immigration Reform. President of FWD.us, Todd Schulte summed up the discussion, emphasizing that the positive impacts immigrants make are not limited to New York. “The economic contribution of immigrants is not a unique story to New York City, it’s a tale that plays out in all 50 states,” said Schulte. “It’s more important now than ever to recognize the cultural and economic contributions every immigrant group has made over time. Commonsense immigration reform will allow us to attract innovators and entrepreneurs, and provide an economic boost to communities in the form of jobs, growth, and an expanded tax base–all while continuing the proud immigrant tradition that makes America great.”

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Statement on Trump's Undocumented Veteran Comments

Posted by FWD.us on 09/07/2016

WASHINGTON, DC — Following tonight’s Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Presidential Candidates Forum in New York City, in which Donald Trump said that undocumented immigrants who wish to serve in the U.S. military would present a “special circumstance,”  FWD.us President Todd Schulte released the following statement:

“A guaranteed path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who serve in our military is one part of commonsense reform. Words matter, actions matter more. If Mr. Trump is serious about his comments, he should immediately join other Republicans and Democrats who support legislative action and work for a vote while congress is in session.”

 

FWD.us Hosts Roundtable on International Entrepreneur Rule, Connects White House with Tech Community

Posted by The FWD.us Team on 09/06/2016

On Friday, FWD.us hosted a roundtable event between 25 Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, lawyers, venture capitalists and Tom Kalil, the Deputy Director of Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The discussion was an important opportunity for seasoned entrepreneurs to provide feedback on the recently proposed International Entrepreneur Rule, which will make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the United States to grow their own businesses, create jobs, and contribute to the American economy.

The roundtable was a successful opportunity for Silicon Valley tech leaders to directly voice their feedback to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and help shape a policy intended to grow entrepreneurship in America. The group’s input will be submitted to the White House as part of a public comment period, which is open to the public through October 17. The comment period is an opportunity for people to share their thoughts on the International Entrepreneur Rule before it is finalized and rolled out. People can use their comments to voice their support for the ruling, flag potential challenges, and make suggestions for improvement.

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Many of the participants at Friday’s discussion had been involved with FWD.us for the past two years to push for the ruling’s announcement. Startup founders, venture capitalists and lawyers gathered in San Francisco to discuss the new ruling with White House official Tom Kalil, who was heavily involved in crafting the policy. As such, there was a lot of enthusiasm at the event for the administration’s effort to demonstrate its support for immigrant entrepreneurs.

Pawan Mehra, CEO of multicultural advertising agency Ameredia, said the International Entrepreneur Rule “opens up new avenues for the world’s most promising entrepreneurs to realize their startup dreams in our great nation.”

With the new rule, “President Obama’s administration has shown its commitment toward the startup, tech, and entrepreneurial community,” he said.

Rishi Misra, a FWD.us ambassador and product manager at SPH Analytics, said he was “excited” to see how the rule would benefit the United States economy.

“The absence of a good pathway for foreign entrepreneurs to build their companies is a gap in the immigration system, and [the rule is] a big opportunity for the U.S. to stimulate its economy.” Misra said.

Munir Usman, co-founder of RemoteInterview, left the event feeling positive about the conversation.“It was really beneficial to hear directly from Tom about the ruling because he was one of the people who wrote it,” Usman said. “The roundtable format was a great way to collect feedback because I was able to hear different perspectives that, in turn, helped generate additional thoughts of my own.”

FWD.us encourages everyone to join these leaders in voicing their support and providing input on the International Entrepreneur Rule. By participating in the public comment process, you are helping the administration help you!

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Click here for more photos from the roundtable.

Tips for Providing Public Comment

For those of you who have not provided public comment in the federal register before, here are some useful guidelines!

 

  • Lead with the Positive. Your comment should begin with the parts of the ruling you agree with and think will provide the most benefit. This will help USCIS assess not only what people want changed, but also what people think is already on the right track.
  • Be Specific. The most productive comments will clearly spell out which parts of the ruling you are commenting on. Avoid anything too vague The more specific you are, the more likely USCIS is to address your concern.
  • Provide Evidence. Wherever possible, ground your arguments in empirical evidence. For example, if you have an alternate suggestion for an investment threshold, you should link to studies and articles that support your suggestion.
  • Comment Early: USCIS will start evaluating the comment immediately, which is why it is in your interest to make sure your comment is heard early on in the review process.

For more information about the International Entrepreneur Rule, please visit our fwd.us/pathways 

Statement on Donald Trump's Immigration Speech

Posted by FWD.us on 08/31/2016

WASHINGTON, DC — Following Donald Trump’s immigration and national security speech in Phoenix, Arizona, which outlined the principles of his immigration plan, FWD.us President Todd Schulte released the following statement:

“We were hopeful that Mr. Trump would lay out a practical plan to stop future illegal immigration and provide a realistic solution for those currently living here without status.  Unfortunately, Mr. Trump failed on both accounts, continuing to embrace the deportation of all undocumented immigrants as the core principle of his immigration plan, while proposing to radically restrict legal immigration as well.  These policies are not only out of step with American values and American voters, but would risk our national security and jeopardize our economic prosperity.”