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By Philippe Legrain ADD COMMENTS

Refugees are a tiny proportion of the U.S. population — some 3.3 million have been admitted since 1975 — but they have had an outsized impact. Google co-founder Sergey Brin was a child refugee from the Soviet Union; Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is now America’s second-most valuable firm, with a market capitalization of $553 billion. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin were refugees from Ukraine. The late Andy Grove, who helped start and was later CEO of Intel, fled from communist Hungary. So, too, did hedge-fund manager and philanthropist George Soros; Thomas Peterffy, the founder of Interactive Brokers Group; and Steven Udvar-Hazy, the founder of Air Lease Corp.

People originating from the seven countries on Trump’s blacklist already have contributed a lot to America. eBay was founded by an Iranian-American, Pierre Omidyar. Its market capitalization of $36.1 billion dwarfs the value of Trump’s unlisted business holdings, while Omidyar’s self-made $8.2 billion fortune is more than twice as big as Trump’s partly inherited one. Oracle Corp., a software giant worth $162.2 billion, was co-founded by the late Bob Miner, who was also Iranian-American. While the communities from the other countries are much smaller and generally more recent, one notable Somali-American is author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of both Islamic extremism and Trump’s anti-Muslim policies.

Read my piece for Foreign Policy

Posted 03 Feb 2017 in Blog

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