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On May 18, 2013, SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar spoke at the annual gala of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, using the opportunity to highlight the contributions of immigrants (and Hispanic immigrants in particular) to the economy, tout the crowdfunding and so called “Regulation A – plus” provisions of the JOBS Act, and weigh in on the politics of immigration reform.

In his remarks, Mr. Aguilar made the pitch that the crowdfunding and Regulation A – plus provisions of the JOBS Act will benefit small businesses, such as the many small businesses that are owned by immigrants.  Mr. Aguilar didn’t provide any new information about these provisions of the JOBS Act or give any updates as to the rule-making timetable, but he did predict that state securities commissions and the SEC would work together to develop a uniform offering circular that would comply with state and federal requirements for Regulation A – plus offerings.

Mr. Aguilar presented his audience with a number of interesting data points that highlight the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy, such as:

  • In the last 20 years, there have been 356 public companies that were backed by venture capital, and immigrants founded or helped found 25% of those companies
  • First generation immigrants make up only 12% of the U.S. population but account for 16.7% of all new business owners.
  • Hispanic immigrants make up 28% of all small business owners, and the number of businesses owned by Hispanic immigrants is growing more than four times faster than the overall number of businesses.
  • Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies and seven out of the ten most valuable brands in the world were founded by immigrants or their children.
  • Small businesses owned by immigrants directly employed about 4.7 million people in the U.S.
  • At the top ten patent-producing universities, foreign-born inventors were credited with contributing to more than 75% of all patents issued.
  • Compared to the general population, immigrants are more likely to hold advanced degrees, and are almost twice as likely to hold a Ph.D.
  • Hispanic high school graduates are now more likely than white high school graduates to enroll in a two-year or four-year degree program.

Near the conclusion of his remarks, Mr. Aguilar seemed to express support for an immigration reform bill that provides a “path to citizenship” for immigrants who did not enter the United States lawfully: “I’m hopeful that we will finally see real immigration reform that will bring people out of the shadows and allow them to flourish and contribute to our society.  Freeing that powerful human capital can take our country to new levels of prosperity.  That’s particularly true of young Latinos and Latinas that came to this country as children and know no other country as their own.  We need immigration reform that will allow them to fulfill their dreams and, in so doing, take our country to greater heights.”

Check frequently for updated information on the JOBS Act, the Dodd-Frank Act and other important securities law matters.