by Gary Alexander

January 18, 2023

Immigration policy is chaotic under the Biden Administration, but it was always sort of chaotic. The most determined people make it to our borders and into America seeking a better life for their families. Many then scrimp and save enough to send to their overseas family, bringing them to America later on.

I just returned from the 20th annual Jazz Cruise in the Caribbean and Atlantic waters. It was our 11th consecutive sailing. In the spirit of this week’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, there is no greater love and respect between races than on this annual Cruise. The headline artists are about half black, half white and the audience is about two shakes of salt, one of pepper. In one of our first cruises, the late alto saxophonist, Jeff Clayton, a Black artist, describing the inevitably mixed-race line-up of musicians in each concert segment, said, “We all came here on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.”

Keyboard Capers on the Cruise Image

One example of an immigrant creation is jazz itself, the New Orleans fusion of European harmonies and African rhythms. Add to that the Great American Songbook, written primarily by European-born Jewish songwriters, many of whom wrote specifically for Black artists in the 1930s, such as Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler writing for the Cotton Club reviews; Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin for Louis Armstrong, Irving Berlin for Ethel Waters, and the Gershwins’ “Porgy & Bess.” In 1938, two record labels were founded by Jewish partners to record neglected black artists: Austrian-Jewish-born Milt Gabler and his brother-in-law Jack Crystal (father of Billy Crystal) formed Commodore Records, a totally integrated recording label and music store, and Francis Wolf and Alfred Lion emigrated from Germany to launch the Blue Note label. (This week, our ship honors the 85th anniversary of that label with Blue Note at Sea.)

The next year, 1939, as Ken Burns recently documented, a ship of Jewish immigrants was turned away from American ports. That is a shame on our national scorecard, but there is no nation that has welcomed more Jews to its shores – by a long shot, and for a much longer time – than America. Outside of Israel, there are more Jews in America than any other nation, and all other nations combined. France is a distant third. That should be obvious, as Jews created and dominated our music, movie, entertainment, banking, garment, jewelry, merchandising, and other industries. That’s why Hitler hated them, and we honor them.

Top 10 Countries with the Largest Jewish populations (2019)

  1. Israel – 6,894,000 (2021 data)
  2. United States – 5,700,000 (Possibly 6.7 million. Sources differ.)
  3. France – 450,000
  4. Canada – 392,000
  5. United Kingdom – 292,000

Source: World Population Review

America is home to several Jewish Nobel Prize winners, composers, and inventors. There are numerous examples of innovations stemming from the mind and hard work of immigrants, several of them Jewish:

  • Blue jeans were invented by Levi Strauss, a German-born Jew, and Jacob W. Davis, a Latvian-Jewish tailor who emigrated to America in 1854. They received a patent for blue jeans in 1873.
  • The telephone was invented by Scots-born Alexander Graham Bell.
  • Hamburgers were invented by Danish immigrant Louis Lassen in 1895, and hot dogs by Charles Feltman, a German-Jewish immigrant. Feltman opened a Coney Island restaurant where he got around buying silverware and plates by putting a sausage in a roll. If you want ketchup (catsup?) on your hot dog or hamburger, that was invented by German immigrant, Henry J. Heinz.
  • Beer was also a German import. Beginning in the 1870s, hundreds of German breweries popped up in the Midwest. Among the famous survivors were those founded by Adolphus Busch and father-in-law, Eberhard Anheuser in St. Louis. Further north, Milwaukee boasted four of the world’s largest German-owned breweries, including those run by Frederick Pabst and Joseph Schlitz.
  • In recent times, YouTube’s founders (two out of three) were born overseas: Jawed Karim from Germany and Steve Chen from Taiwan. And Steve Jobs’ biological father was a Syrian refugee.
  • The richest man on earth, Elon Musk, was born in South Africa, master of six diverse business models. The #7 richest is Sergei Brin, an American entrepreneur born in Moscow, Russia.
  • The composer of “God Bless America” was born in Siberia, Irving Berlin. The lyricist of songs about Kalamazoo, Michigan and Chattanooga, Tennessee (Mack Gordon) was born in Poland.

Migration seldom goes in the other direction. Where is the American-born songwriter born in 1900, crossing the Atlantic to Poland, learning the Polish language, and writing glorious tributes to Warsaw?

What is the Great Attraction of America to Immigrants?

What brings immigrants to America? Clearly, it’s a step UP for them, but it’s also a step up for us. In Migrations and Cultures: A World View, economist Thomas Sowell writes that: “Nothing is more common than to have poverty-stricken immigrants become more prosperous in a new country and to make that country more prosperous as well.”  Here are a couple of examples Sowell highlights:

  • In India, professionals are not paid very well. Sowell points out that Indians immigrating to the United States are overwhelmingly doctors and technology professionals. By coming here, the income and education levels of Indian immigrants become much higher than the native-born U.S. population.
  • Former President Donald Trump once asked why more people from Norway don’t immigrate to the United States. If he had read Thomas Sowell, he would know that poor people from Norway did come to America during the 1800s, when they were poor, since people generally immigrate to countries where they can earn more money and enjoy a higher standard of living. Norwegians are rich now.

Top Migrant Sending Countries Bar Chart

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

The following is a chart of historical reality and Census Bureau projections. This chart can either scare you or inspire you, or both. Some say immigrants will “steal” our jobs, but right now (and since 2021), there have been 10 million unfilled job openings and 10 million healthy Americans of working age who are unwilling to apply for those jobs, so I tend to view this chart with hope, a hope that hungry future immigrants can help fill those 10 million jobs that the 10 million Americans of working age refuse to fill.

Immigrants in the United States Bar Chart

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

And some small percentage of those immigrants will become entrepreneurs of new business models, as yet unimagined, inventing perhaps new energy sources to replace fossil fuels, and becoming billionaires.

We need fresh ideas from self-selected self-starters who make the giant leap across the waters to America.

All content above represents the opinion of Gary Alexander of Navellier & Associates, Inc.

Please see important disclosures below.

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About The Author

Gary Alexander

Gary Alexander has been Senior Writer at Navellier since 2009.  He edits Navellier’s weekly Marketmail and writes a weekly Growth Mail column, in which he uses market history to support the case for growth stocks.  For the previous 20 years before joining Navellier, he was Senior Executive Editor at InvestorPlace Media (formerly Phillips Publishing), where he worked with several leading investment analysts, including Louis Navellier (since 1997), helping launch Louis Navellier’s Blue Chip Growth and Global Growth newsletters.

Prior to that, Gary edited Wealth Magazine and Gold Newsletter and wrote various investment research reports for Jefferson Financial in New Orleans in the 1980s.  He began his financial newsletter career with KCI Communications in 1980, where he served as consulting editor for Personal Finance newsletter while serving as general manager of KCI’s Alexandria House book division.  Before that, he covered the economics beat for news magazines. All content of “Growth Mail” represents the opinion of Gary Alexander

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