Sixty percent of the most highly valued tech companies were either founded or Co-founded by first or second-generation Immigrants. Although only 13% of the population we launched over 40% of the businesses on the fortune 500 according to Entrepreneur reports. Although we are a small slice of the population immigrants and their children make a great impact on business, medicine, the arts, and almost all aspect of American society. Besides all of the contributions that immigrants make to society we are facing a dark time in our history as immigrants are seeing the U.S. amplify some of the bigoted policies, thoughts, and actions of the past as tribalism and xenophobia have taken hold over the past 4 years.
In regard to legal immigration, we have seen both Attorney General decisions and USCIS policies aimed at preventing refugees from being able to access protection in America. We have seen a rate increase last year to USCIS rates and another one scheduled to take place next month to make simply applying to USCIS more unattainable to immigrants. We are experiencing longer waits, additional requirements, and an anti-immigrant tone throughout the immigration process.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the immigrant workers and businesses have been hit the hardest as many have no access to the government funding that has been keeping regular Americans afloat during these hard times. For immigrants, it has been either work or starve with many getting sick as they are not allowed to social distance, quarantine, or take time off. This period in history highlighted the inequities that exist towards immigrants in this country.
As legal battles over immigration are fought in the courts and television many immigrants have been affected by the constant uncertainty and pressure and many have self-deported or have had to get psychological treatment for the mental anguish which these race-baiting politicians have purposely inflicted on the psyche of many immigrants in this country. Immigrants built the United States, and Immigrants will take the United States into the future but recently the burden has become heavier. Many immigrants are questioning “Is the United States, still the land of opportunity?”
Abraham Cepeda, Attorney at Law