Editor’s Note: Alfred Chuang is general partner at Race Capital and co-founder and former CEO of BEA Systems. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

My dream as a child growing up in Hong Kong was to study in America, but my initial F1 student visa was rejected. The immigration officer asked me a trick question: Would I stay in the US and get practice experience after my studies? I said yes.

The immigration officer told me there was no need to ever apply again. I thought my journey in the United States was over before it even began. But I persisted and kept applying, and on August 28, 1979, two years after the immigration officer posed that question, I finally received my student visa.

Upon graduating with a master’s in computer science at University of California, Davis, I was fortunate to land my dream job in Silicon Valley at Sun Microsystems, the ‘Google’ of its time. The company helped me apply for my H1-B visa and sponsored my green card. Through this experience, I eventually became a citizen of the United States.

Unfortunately, many others won’t be as lucky. The Trump administration has implemented new restrictions on temporary work visas – like the H1-B for workers in specialty occupations that helped kickstart my career here in the US, as well as the L-1 used for intracompany transfers and the J-1 used for cultural and educational exchange visitors – until the end of this year. Even H-4 visas for spouses will be restricted this year, meaning international workers will have to wait even longer for their families to join them. While the restrictions are expected to be lifted at the end of the year, they will have long-lasting implications for innovation in our country.

Many notable founders and executives in Silicon Valley followed a similar path as me. This includes Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and others who worked in the United States as part of the H1-B visa program. If these restrictions existed at the time, we could have been living in a world where many of these companies either would not exist, would not have been founded in America, or in the case of Zoom and Microsoft, would have lacked the leadership of these great CEOs.

Many of America’s top companies were also founded by first- or second-generation immigrants. Though not all of them came to the United States on visas personally – some were adopted into American families or their parents brought them to the United States – it highlights just how much of what we consider to be American innovation has been spearheaded by immigrants. For that to continue, America needs to embrace the role of visas in bringing brilliant people to our country.

We need to give opportunities to all who arrive in the United States. Many technology companies in Silicon Valley would not exist if international entrepreneurs were not allowed to live and work in America. If not for the F1 and H1-B visas, I would not have gone on to co-found BEA Systems, which employed close to 6,000 people at the time it was acquired by Oracle. The world would not have distributed transaction processing and e-commerce as quickly if not for our work.

Leading CEOs and innovators in the United States came here for an education and stayed here to not only contribute to the economy, but to become part of the fabric of the United States. If international students don’t feel welcome in America, they will ultimately decide to study somewhere else. America’s loss will be another country’s gain.

We must support the visa programs and strive to keep all of the incredibly talented individuals here. If we fail in that, the economy will eventually fail too. Immigrants help build America. They make America great and they will keep America great.