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Immigration and the U.S. economy

Immigration by Nitish Meena
Immigration has been the untold story behind the success of some of America's most valuable companies. Photo by Nitish Meena.

This morning, I woke up thinking about the sharp contrast between Republican nativism and the role of immigration in building America’s most valuable companies. All anyone needs to do is look at the Magnificent Seven, which propelled the U.S. economy forward in 2023.

A Taiwanese American, Jensen Huang, co-founded and leads the current darling on Wall Street, NVIDIA. Huang was born in Tainan, Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Alphabet (Google) CEO Sundar Pichai hails from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. And the CEO of another tech giant, Microsoft, also comes from India. Satya Nadella was born in Hyderabad.

Then, there’s Apple. Its co-founder, Steve Jobs, was the son of a Syrian immigrant. Keep in mind that Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet are the three most valuable companies in America.

NVIDIA ranks Number 5 and it’s bearing down on Number 4, Amazon. The massive online retailer was founded by Jeff Bezos, who was raised by a Cuban immigrant stepfather.

The sixth most valuable member of what’s come to be known as the “Magnificent Seven” is Facebook. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s great-grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe. The seventh company on this list, Tesla, was founded by Elon Musk. He was born in South Africa and attended Queen’s University in Canada before moving to the U.S.

U.S. media commentators rarely highlight the contrast between Republican rhetoric and the role of immigration in building American economic power. Perhaps that will change as we move closer to U.S. elections in November.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

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The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.