Just in case it was previously unclear, the browning of America is proceeding at a rapid rate. Nowhere is it more obvious than Silicon Valley, where the rise of immigrants continues.
This past week came the news that Indian-born immigrant Sundar Pichai is now set to become the new CEO of Internet giant Google. Not a name known outside of the tech world, Pichai’s rise at Google has been fast since joining the company in 2004. He moved up to product chief last year and will now take the helm from outgoing CEO Larry Page.
Quite a feat for this immigrant born in Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu, India, in 1972, to Tamil parents and who grew up in a two-room apartment in Ashok Nagar, Madras. Indeed, it’s an immigrant success story like so many others in this country, legal or illegal.
From the Jawahar Vidyalaya to the Vana Vani school in Chennai, this former captain of a high school cricket team earned his degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. He then migrated to the U.S. where he earned masters degrees from Stanford University and Wharton before starting his U.S. career at McKinsey and Company and then moving on to Google.
He joins other Indians who have risen through these Silicon Valley companies’ highest ranks. Satya Nadella, who was born into a Telugu-speaking family in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India, became CEO of Microsoft last year. Nadella had worked with Sun Microsystems as a member of its technology staff before joining Microsoft in 1992.
And then there is Shantanu Narayen, who began leading Adobe in 2007. He grew up in Hyderabad, India, and after attending public school there and migrating to the U.S., he began his career at Apple.
There are a great many similar stories in Silicon Valley. Most of the Valley’s brains are imported from Mexico, which Donald Trump said was sending rapists and criminals only, in addition to Asia. The constant stream of new apps and services depends on hundreds of thousands of foreign-born engineers on H1-B visas.
As a 2011 report from the Partnership for a New American Economy found, more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Furthermore, 18 percent, or 90 of the 500 companies, had immigrant founders. The children of immigrants started another 114 companies.
Along with this development the U.S. Census shows that the foreign-born population of the United States has averaged 10.5 percent since 1850, meaning that immigrant entrepreneurs are overrepresented on the list of founders of Fortune 500 companies.
Of course, while these positive changes are occurring across our nation, Congress and Republicans continue to drag their feet on comprehensive immigration reform that will help ensure more Pichais, Nadellas and Narayens.
It is a major travesty on their part, but it will not stop the change that continues on a massive scale in this country as we see more and more the move from a white majority America to an America that is predominantly Brown and Black, with many immigrants in high places of power. GOP, be warned!
The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.