Just when we thought we couldn’t take another heated public debate, immigration reform is up next in Congress. I can only imagine the nightmare scenarios, scare tactics, fear mongering and isolationism that’s going to be bandied about. So here’s a little something to balance the debate.

I.M. Pei, Madeline Albright, Albert Einstein, John Muir, Joseph Pulitzer, Felix Franfurter, Hakeem Olajuwon, Irving Berlin, Ang Lee, Moritz Diamond, Elizabeth Mirsky

Familiar names? All made incredible contributions to this country, and all of them were immigrants. The last two you might not recognize: my paternal great grandfather who emigrated from Kiev and my maternal great grandmother who came over from Lithuania. They’re not famous, nor are they geniuses, but they certainly changed my world.

As for thinking that immigrants take jobs away from Americans, nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s something: the immigrants that comprise 12% of our population earn a staggering 47% of the nation’s science and technology PhDs and pioneer new innovations by filing for 24% of US patents.

And Vijay Govindarajan posted this last week:

Consider that the co-founder of Google is Sergey Brin, a Russian. The co-founder of Sun Microsystems is Vinod Khosla, an Indian. eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar, who is French. The co-founder of Juniper Networks is an Indian, Pradeep Sindhu. YouTube was co-founded by Steve Chen, who is Chinese. Yahoo! was co-founded by Jerry Yang, a Chinese immigrant. Andy Grove, a Hungarian, co-founded Intel. The companies these highly skilled immigrants co-founded account for many, many jobs. There are many more such Silicon Valley startups established by immigrants, from WiChorus, founded by Rehan Jalil and acquired by Tellabs, to Hotmail, founded by Sabeer Bhatia and acquired by Microsoft.

What immigrant brought you here?