Study backs up Andrew Yang's claim about immigrants

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang said that “immigrants are being scapegoated” for reasons that have “nothing to do with our economy” during the second night of the Democratic debates on Wednesday night.

“I'm the son of immigrants myself,” said the 44-year-old entrepreneur. “My father immigrated here as a graduate student and generated over 65 U.S. patents for G.E. and IBM. I think that's a pretty good deal for the United States. That's the immigration story we need to be telling. We can’t always be focusing on some of the distressed stories.”

He added: “If you go to a factory here in Michigan, you will not find wall-to-wall immigrants; you will find wall-to-wall robots and machines. Immigrants are being scapegoated for issues they have nothing to do with in our economy.”

Yang has a point: According to a new analysis, immigrants and their children actually founded 223 of the Fortune 500 companies

Immigrants responsible for 233 of Fortune 500 companies

Various studies have been done to quantify the benefits of immigration on the U.S. economy.

A recent analysis by the New American Economy, a research and advocacy group that is pro-immigration, found that nearly 45% of this year’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.

That’s 223 out of 500 companies in the U.S. 101 were directly founded by foreign-born individuals, and 122 founded by children of immigrants.

Those companies collectively generated $6.1 trillion in revenue in 2019 — which is bigger than the GDP of countries like Japan, Germany, and the UK — and employed 13.5 million people.

While New York, California, and Illinois have the largest number of Fortune 500 companies — with 10 or more — small and medium businesses are also important, the report stressed, and “immigrants have a significant role to play here, with nearly 3.2 million immigrants running their own businesses.”

separate study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that immigrant-owned technology firms in the U.S. were found to be more innovative than U.S.-born firms.

The report, which looked at 11,000 owners of 7,400 high-tech employer businesses, found that “uniformly higher rates of innovation in immigrant-owned firms for 15 of 16 different innovation measures; the only exception is for copyright/trademark.”

‘This should be a country that honors everyone’

Former Vice President Joe Biden also supported this notion — that anybody “with a PhD, you should get a green card for seven years. We should keep them here,” he said.

But not all the candidates supported this assertion. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D) said that differentiating types of immigration was counterproductive to the overall conversation.

“This really irks me because I heard the vice president say that if you got a PhD, you can come right into this country. Well that’s playing into what the Republicans want to pit some immigrants against other immigrants… [as some are] from are from ‘shithole’ countries and some are from worthy countries,” responded Booker.

“We need to reform this whole immigration system and begin to be the country that says everyone has worth and dignity and this should be a country that honors everyone.”

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Andrew Yang at the Democratic Debate
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Andrew Yang at the Democratic Debate
NBC NEWS ELECTION COVERAGE -- The First Democratic Debate -- Pictured: Andrew Yang at The Knight Concert Hall, Miami Florida on Thursday, June 27, 2019-- (Photo by: Gustavo Cabellero /NBC News/MSNBC/Telemundo)
Democratic presidential hopeful US entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks to the press in the Spin Room after participating in the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
NBC NEWS ELECTION COVERAGE -- The First Democratic Debate -- Pictured: (l-r) Marianne Williamson, John Hickenlooper, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, Eric Swalwelat at The Knight Concert Hall, Miami Florida on Thursday, June 27, 2019-- (Photo by: Gustavo Cabellero /NBC News/MSNBC/Telemundo)
Democratic presidential hopefuls (L-R) US author and writer Marianne Williamson, Former Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper and US entrepreneur Andrew Yang participate in the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) Marianne Williamson, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, former tech executive Andrew Yang, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) take part in the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidate former tech executive Andrew Yang greets members of the audience after the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) Marianne Williamson, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, former tech executive Andrew Yang, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) take part in the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: former tech executive Andrew Yang speaks as South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg look on during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Former tech executive Andrew Yang reacts during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidate former tech executive Andrew Yang speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Former tech executive Andrew Yang reacts during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful US entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks in the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopefuls US entrepreneur Andrew Yang (L) and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg (R) participate in the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: (L-R) Democratic presidential candidates former tech executive Andrew Yang, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) take the stage for the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: (L-R) Democratic presidential candidates former tech executive Andrew Yang, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) take the stage for the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 26: Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks to media outside the Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. Yang is participating in the second night's debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 26: Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks to media outside the Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. Yang is participating in the second night's debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 26: Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks to media outside the Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. Yang is participating in the second night's debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang, center, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, right, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, listen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang, right, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper listens. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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