Trump’s “Muslim Ban” (Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”) has set in motion will be an unqualified disaster for American business and the economy. In his first press conference after the election, Trump modestly declared that he would be “the greatest job producer God has ever created.” Between the trade war that he is igniting with Mexico and China and his immigrant ban, he is setting the stage for an economic catastrophe that will make what happened in 2008 look like a hiccup.
In 2002, in The Rise of the Creative Class, my husband Richard Florida pointed to the role that tolerance plays in the clustering of the creative class, the highly-educated workers that are the principle drivers of our economy. Five years later, in The Flight of the Creative Class, he noted that “the key to economic growth revolves around one key factor: the movement of talent on a global scale.” Over the course of the twentieth century, America’s status as the world’s most open country had made us the most powerful talent magnet in the world. But the barriers to travel and immigration that were being erected in the wake of 9/11, he warned, were putting our competitive advantage in jeopardy.
Richard isn’t the only one who has been banging this drum. In a classic 2012 paper, Stanford’s Vivek Wadhwa, University of California Berkeley’s Anna Lee Saxenian, and Stanford Law School’s Daniel Siciliano II documented the incredible contributions that immigrants have made to our national economy in general and technology industry in particular. 24.3 percent of engineering and technology startups across the US and 43.9 percent of startups in Silicon Valley were founded by immigrants, they noted. As Wadwha wrote in The Washington Post shortly after Trump’s travel ban went into effect, “blocking the path of immigrants into the United States cuts off the exact economic growth serum that has made America great.”Read More