Thanksgiving – An American Holiday that Holds Special Significance for Every Proud Immigrant

November 24, 2014. An opinion piece in Sys-Con Media explains why immigrants give special thanks around Thanksgiving:

With our personal calendars filled with holidays that range from religious observances to children’s birthdays there is only one day of the year that we can all sit down together as one large, diverse family of Americans and celebrate who we are, where we came from and why this remains an extraordinary country of opportunity. Welcome Thanksgiving.

…This author came to the United States from Iran in 1969. I had no grand plan. Rather, I only had the promise of a job in the emerging information technology field with a young family to support. But I knew, like every hopeful immigrant around the globe knows, that only in America can success be achieved through hard work, since, regardless of all our societal problems, it is our work ethic that remains the most important criteria by which we judge our fellow citizens.

When these new American citizens sit down for their holiday meal this week, the odds are they personally locked up their businesses and shops to observe the day. The Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) reports that foreign-born individuals start their own businesses across the nation at more than twice the rate of those born here (with the Greek community holding the top honors in their analysis of which immigrant group is most likely to open a small business). In New York, our nation’s most famed melting pot, the last census data available reveals that some 48% of the city’s entrepreneurs were foreign-born.

(This piece overstates our data a little. FPI data shows that immigrants make up 18 percent of small business owners in the United States and 16 percent of the labor force. So, immigrants are indeed more likely to be small business owners…but, not twice as likely.)