Editor’s Note: When choosing the next president or voting in any election, business owners must put aside personal opinions or beliefs and realize the broader implication of their decisions. For this article, we’ve asked entrepreneur, immigrant, and founder & CEO of Entryless, Mike Galarza to outline how different policies on immigration might affect his business, as well as the startup community and the nation as a whole. This article expresses the views of an individual, not inDinero as an organization.
Few would argue that today, the United States is the global destination for business and innovation. Be it in application development, biotechnology, or clean energy, if you’re going to break ground, you’re doing it here. The world economy relies on the U.S. to be the wellspring of new business ventures.
When I sat down to write this article, I planned to focus on what the coming election could mean for immigrant entrepreneurs. After reading a few articles like this one, I decided also to focus on how the results will impact all of us.
When I founded Entryless, I faced—and continue to face—unique challenges because of my immigrant status. I came to the U.S. from Mexico in 2009 on a travel Visa, which allowed me to work for an employer but not for myself. This required me to build Entryless from the ground up in my spare time—and by spare time, I mean at night when I should’ve been sleeping.
It was worth every sleepless night. I now have an E2 Visa, and even though I have to return to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico each year to renew it, Entryless is established and growing. However, my next renewal is not a slam dunk—especially if the next administration adopts isolationist policies. There’s a lot at stake on November 8th for me, my company, and my employees.
Diversity and inclusion make America exceptional
I chose to headquarter my company in Silicon Valley because the greatest minds from all over the world come here to share ideas, help each other create, and build the future of business. We respect innovation—and innovators from all backgrounds—like nowhere else in the world. People here will listen and help no matter who you are or where you’re from, which we should all treasure.
The United States business culture enables this dynamic and creates such an appealing place to develop new ideas. Working with the love of innovation and collaboration inherent in our unique business community can provide the turbo charge for the engine of a new business. I’m grateful for what my mentors taught me. I hope I am fortunate enough to stay here and do the same for those coming up behind me.
That’s why I take on added risk and put in far more effort running Entryless in the U.S. rather than in my hometown. I wanted to build the best company and create the best solutions I could. To be the best, I needed to learn from the best, and the best entrepreneurs are in the U.S. (even if they weren’t born here).
The elephant in the room
As a business person, I really try not to get political, but I don’t feel like I have a choice this cycle. After doing extensive research, I feel comfortable moving beyond the rhetoric and imploring my fellow entrepreneurs to carefully weigh their decision on November 8th.
Immigrant entrepreneurs create American jobs, exports, and wealth
My company, Entryless, is growing and currently employs five individuals here in the U.S. on a full-time basis. Not only are we creating jobs, we also export our service globally—bringing revenue into this country’s economy from abroad and serving to reduce the overall trade deficit. And we’re not alone. As reported by the Small Business Administration, immigrant-owned businesses are more likely to export goods and services than companies owned by non-immigrants. The same report shows we are also slightly more likely to hire new employees than our non-immigrant counterparts.
Bottom line, studies and reports show that immigrants create far more than they take. I create jobs. I pay my taxes. Entryless pays payroll and business taxes, and the people who work for my company pay their taxes. We’re doing our fair share.
If it were easy, we would have already fixed it
There’s also nothing simple about trade or immigration. The two are intertwined and can be influenced by the subtlest of policy initiatives. A giant wall won’t have an impact on immigration. Neither will “establishing new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first” because such decrees are so vague and grammatically incorrect, we can’t possibly ascertain functionality or effectiveness.
Proposals such as these are what led H.L. Mencken to famously write, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) remains an isolationist’s example of what ended the domestic manufacturing renaissance. Of course, it’s just not that simple. I’m not suggesting our complex trade agreements are working as intended or to the benefit of many Americans. It’s fair to say that with 70% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) focused on consumption, trade deficits have been and will continue to be part of our economic symbiosis.
Simply denouncing current trade agreements as “bad deals” is so generalized, it’s nonsensical.
We need to recognize that free movement of intellectual capital benefits the U.S. more than an artificial attempt to increase domestic manufacture of commoditized products. Our economy simply will not withstand attempts to go back in time to a pre-globalization era. We need to embrace tomorrow and forward policies that sustain our position as the global nucleus of innovation.
For me, it’s personal
My future and yours depend on harnessing intellectual capital right here in the U.S.. Free trade includes the free exchange of ideas and that’s what fuels innovation. Innovation creates intellectual capital—benefiting everyone.
If the next administration drastically alters how we enforce existing immigration laws, immigrant entrepreneurs like me could easily find ourselves on the outside looking in at our own companies. Our employees would lose their jobs to those outside of the U.S., and the revenue created by companies like Entryless would land in other countries, increasing the U.S. trade deficit.
It’s simple math. America remains great by seeking improvement and enlightenment, not taking a trip down an idealized memory lane. Learn, grow, innovate. That’s the equation for prosperity, nostalgia not included.
How one chooses to vote is an individual decision, made for personal reasons. An individual’s stance on social issues does not necessarily require a response from the founder of a Silicon Valley startup. But turning off the “Open” sign above the U.S. economy can and will have lasting negative effects. We can’t let that happen.
Since first coming to the United States, I’ve never once wondered whether it’s worth the risk and the worry, because I’m proud to be the CEO of an American company. I couldn’t have achieved this anywhere else. No other country on the planet provides entrepreneurs with multi-cultural networking opportunities, dependable financing solutions, a skilled pool of human resources, and a supportive business community.
JFK declared us a nation of immigrants over fifty years ago. That truth is no small part of what makes us the center of global commerce today. Removing the country’s welcome mat now could have consequences reaching every corner of the world.
From inDinero: inDinero considers itself a resource to all startup founders and entrepreneurs. If as you continue to research important issues in this upcoming election, you have questions about how certain regulations and tax codes will affect your business don’t hesitate to contact us. Our small business finance experts are here to answer any accounting and tax related questions you may have.