Lou Dobbs Is Wrong: America’s Melting Pot a Job Creation Engine

Lou Dobbs’ resignation from CNN after 27 years  has led to speculation about his future plans — whether in politics or a possible move to Fox News.  Dobbs, known for his controversial opinions on immigration, went so far as to question the validity of Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate and suggested that the president was actually born in Kenya.

Countering Dobbs’ divisive opinions, recent research has found that thousands of immigrants who come to America looking for work end up starting entrepreneurial businesses, some of which employ thousands.  Consider these statistics from a study by the U.S. Small Business Administration:

  • Approximately 1.5 million immigrants own their own business, generating $67 billion in annual revenue.
  • In Illinois, 14.5 percent of all businesses are immigrant-owned; approximately 28 percent of the state’s engineering and technology companies were started by immigrants, according to a Latino Technology Alliance study.
  • Immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start business than native-born Americans, according to the SBA study cited above.
  • Businesses owned by immigrants are more likely to have paid employees.

One example is Jai Shekhawat, who left India to pursue a corporate career in America.  After stints at Burroughs Corp., Syntel, Inc., and McKinsey & Co., Shekhawat started Quinnox, Inc., a Naperville-based IT outsourcing company.  Later, he started Fieldglass, Inc., a Chicago business that has yearly revenues of $30 million and employs 150, primarily in the metropolitan area.  In addition to India, entrepreneurs who have started successful Chicago-area businesses include immigrants from Ukraine, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

S. Jafer Hasnain is a Managing Partner of Lifeline Assets, a Chicago-based real-estate private equity firm which he co-founded in 2008. Mr. Hasnain was previously a portfolio manager and analyst at Alliance Bernstein for 14 years with stints at Merrill Lynch, Citibank and Goldman Sachs prior to that.