Named an Economist 2012 Book of the Year

Many of the United States’ most innovative entrepreneurs have been immigrants, from Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell, and Charles Pfizer to Sergey Brin, Vinod Khosla, and Elon Musk. Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies and one-quarter of all new small businesses were founded by immigrants, generating trillions of dollars annually, employing millions of workers, and helping establish the United States as the most entrepreneurial, technologically advanced society on earth.

Now, Vivek Wadhwa, an immigrant tech entrepreneur turned academic with appointments at Duke, Stanford, Emory, and Singularity Universities, draws on his new Kauffman Foundation research to show that the United States is in the midst of an unprecedented halt in high-growth, immigrant-founded start-ups. He argues that increased competition from countries like China and India and US immigration policies are leaving some of the most educated and talented entrepreneurial immigrants with no choice but to take their innovation elsewhere. The consequences to our economy are dire; our loss will be the gain of our global competitors.

In The Immigrant Exodus, Wadhwa addresses:

  • Why immigrants are critical to America’s economic development and intellectual capital
  • The rise and decline of the immigrant-powered startup machine in America
  • Why immigrants are leaving America
  • Why the visa system is broken and the impact this has had on skilled immigrants
  • How the rest of the world is trying to replicate the success of Silicon Valley and recruit the best global talent

“Vivek Wadhwa’s new book, The Immigrant Exodus, is admirably short, yet he packs it with righteous fury. America, he points out, has one of the greatest assets a nation can have: people yearn to live there.”

—The Economist

“A thoughtful contribution to the dialogue surrounding immigration.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Immigrants have long been the backbone of America—our nation itself was a start-up founded by immigrants. The Immigrant Exodus demonstrates the danger this country faces if it continues to turn away such a precious resource.”

—World Policy Review

“There is no better monitor of America’s shifting immigration regime than Vivek Wadhwa.”

—Edward Luce, The Financial Times

“Talk about hitting our economy when it’s down! And we’re doing it to ourselves, as Vivek Wadhwa’s shocking new book illustrates….Vivek’s timely book should wake Washington up to this destructive folly.”

—Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Media

“I am an immigrant entrepreneur. Many of my close friends in the technology world are immigrant entrepreneurs. It is a tragedy that America makes it so hard for these invaluable people to immigrate and contribute to this great country. Vivek Wadhwa’s book on this topic is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why America is losing the talent race due in part to restrictive and regressive immigration policies.”

—Elon Musk, CEO, SpaceX, and Cofounder, Tesla Motors and PayPal

“America’s continued leadership in the world economy depends directly on our ability to continue to innovate. Our ability to innovate depends directly on the number of scientists and engineers we have in this country. At a time we are not producing enough home grown talent, we need policies and programs that make it easier to attract talent from abroad. That’s always been the case. Walk the halls of our research centers in Palo Alto and Rochester and you will see people from all over the world. It gives usand our countrya competitive advantage. We need to nurture more of it.”

—Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation

“Immigrants are a crucial part of Silicon Valley. Many market transforming companies have been founded by immigrants. Furthermore, all of my portfolio companies rely on outstanding immigrant employees every day. Over the past couple of years, Wadhwa has been at the forefront sounding the alarm about America’s flawed immigration system. In The Immigrant Exodus, he writes persuasively about the problem and what we need to do to solve it. A must-read.”

—Reid Hoffman, Cofounder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn, and Partner, Greylock

“America’s current immigration policy is utterly destroying this great nation’s future. The greatest minds, inspired and educated by our incubators and institutions, are tossed out like babies in the bathwater. Vivek Wadhwa shines a bright laser beam on this must-fix-now problem. As the son of immigrants and a champion of American Innovation, I can think of no more important book for our politicians and CEOs to read. Get it, read it and fix this problem now.”

—Peter H. Diamandis, MD, Chairman/CEO, X PRIZE Foundation, and author, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

“America became a superpower on the premise of welcoming the best and brightest from all over the world. Today those potential contributors to the economy are more likely than not to give up in exasperation and return to their home countries. It doesn’t need to be this way. Wadhwa has been an outstanding champion for the cause and today we must stand with him. In The Immigrant Exodus, he argues that America remains the beacon of hope for talented individuals from around the world. Let’s not allow this flame to be extinguished.”

—Jeff Skoll, Founder and Chairman, Participant Media

“Vivek hits the nail on the head: The key to unlocking American prosperity is making it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to start businesses here and ultimately stay here. Voices like Vivek’s are critical to making that reform possible.”

—Marc Andreessen, Cofounder and Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Featured image for article: Why Mark Zuckerberg Is Pushing for Immigration Reform
    Time.com, April 15, 2013

    Why Mark Zuckerberg Is Pushing for Immigration Reform

    Read More
  • Featured image for article: House judiciary committee hearing shines spotlight on highly skilled STEM workers, path to citizenship
    NBCLatino.com, February 05, 2013

    House judiciary committee hearing shines spotlight on highly skilled STEM workers, path to citizenship

    Read More
  • Featured image for article: Linking Entrepreneurship and Immigration Reform in the U.S.
    AsiaSociety.org, January 28, 2013

    Linking Entrepreneurship and Immigration Reform in the U.S.

    Read More
  • Featured image for article: Books of the Year
    Financial Express, December 30, 2012

    Books of the Year

    Read More
  • Featured image for article: Wharton Digital Press Publishes 2012 Economist Book of the Year
    December 11, 2012

    Wharton Digital Press Publishes 2012 Economist Book of the Year

    “A nation that can attract the cleverest people in the world can innovate and prosper indefinitely. An Indian-American technology entrepreneur and academic explains how America is forgetting this crucial lesson—to its cost.” —The Economist

    Read More
  • Featured image for article: New Book: The Immigrant Exodus
    October 02, 2012

    New Book: The Immigrant Exodus

    In The Immigrant Exodus, Wadhwa presents a concise framework for understanding the Immigrant Exodus and offers a recipe for reversal and rapid recovery.

    Read More
  • View All

Links for Further Reading

Recommended for You

  • Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook

    The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook is an important contribution to help aspiring entrepreneurs take the first step.”

    —David Bornstein, author of How to Change the World

    Download your free worksheet companion here.
    More Details
  • For The Win

    “A quick but thoughtful look into the pros and cons of gamification, what works and what doesn’t, with plenty of insight into what really motivates and engages customers and employees.”

    —Daniel H. Pink, Author, To Sell Is Human and Drive
    More Details
  • Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs

    “Explodes the ‘skills gap’ explanation favored by many corporate leaders and human resources consultants.”

    —Jena McGregor, The Washington Post
    More Details