tags: Press Releases

The Irrefutable Positive Impact Immigrants Have on Our Economy

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Washington, DC –  All Americans are paying a cost for Republican nativism and GOP efforts to restrict immigration. As labor shortages continue to harm the U.S. economy, smart immigration and pro-immigrant and pro-refugee policies are essential ingredients in revitalizing our economy, combating inflation, and growing the workforce, especially in key industries like farming, food processing, nursing, STEM fields and service jobs. Below, we highlight a range of recent voices making the case for why pro-immigrant and pro-refugee policies will strengthen  our economy and society

Jenny Manrique writes about the impact the lack of immigration has had on inflation in a column for The Bay State Banner: “Close to 15% of job openings that employ immigrant or foreign-born workers in the U.S. are still vacant, while the legal immigration system is in dire straits. The post-pandemic economy is reeling from a labor force decimated by restrictive immigration policies, which worsened under Donald Trump’s administration[…] These backlogs can be fixed through a comprehensive immigration reform. Although almost 70% of Americans are in favor of it, there has been no appetite in a polarized Congress to ease restrictions for even legal immigrants.”

Among those interviewed by Manrique was Giovanni Peri, Professor of Economics and Founder and Director of the UC Davis Global Migration Center. Professor Peri told Manrique “From the middle of 2019 until the end of 2021, there has been essentially zero net immigration to the U.S,” citing US Bureau census data. “Although in late 2021 and early 2022 these numbers started growing again, the fact that the inflow of immigrants stopped made the country lose more than 1.7 million (immigrants),” added Peri, noting that 900,000 of them would have been college educated who work in the STEM sector — doctors, computer scientists, biomedical engineers, bio experts — and 800,000 would have been non-college educated concentrated in sectors such as food, hospitality, elderly and child care. “We are talking about the 1.1% of the US labor force,” Peri added.

In a column published by The Dakota Free Press in South Dakota, Cory Allen Heidelberger relates the dire need for immigrant workers in farming and their impact on food security: “On the national level, Texas A&M International University recently released data from a new economic study on the link between stabilizing the agricultural workforce and decreasing inflation and consumer prices, showing that ensuring farmers have a stable, secure, reliable, and legal workforce is crucial to keeping America’s grocery shelves stocked, combating inflation, and lowering food prices (including milk, eggs, meat, and produce) for all domestic consumers. Addressing workforce shortages facing farm employers and stabilizing the H-2A visa application process is also crucial for enhancing our national food security by protecting domestic agriculture production. According to the USDA, next year, for the first time in U.S. history, we as a country will be importing more agricultural goods than we export.”

In a column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nassim Benchaabane reports on the city’s desire to be considered as a place in need of refugees:On Monday, the International Institute of St. Louis, backed by local civic, business and faith leaders, asked three visiting U.S. officials to consider making the St. Louis region the top destination in the country for the thousands of refugees and immigrants expected in the U.S. each year. They pointed to the region’s success, relying on community support and an army of volunteers to settle more than 600 Afghan refugees over the past year. ‘Know that we are ready and we accept that next wave of Americans with open arms,’ Jason Hall, CEO of regional economic development group Greater St. Louis Inc., said at a news conference.”

In an op-ed in The Gazette, one of Iowa’s largest papers, Drew Kamp of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce and Doug Neumann of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance write on why Iowa’s economic vitality calls for more refugee workers: They write, “… our companies are struggling to find talent. And these challenges threaten to worsen as Iowa’s workforce ages and our population stagnates. One way we can fill these critical jobs and strengthen Iowa’s economic future is by welcoming refugees … Already, refugees in Iowa strengthen the state’s economy, paying at least $219 million in taxes annually and contributing $628 million in spending power. … This diverse workforce not only helps offset our aging population, but also helps reduce incentives for companies to move their operations elsewhere or overseas.”

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

Every single day, the American people pay the price for Republican nativism, opposition to legal immigration and obstruction of immigration reforms to modernize our legal immigration system and legalize the status of long term immigrants. Despite strong support by the American people across party lines, Republican lawmakers are playing to their MAGA base in demonizing immigrants while opposing any and all immigration.

This Republican opposition to immigration is costing every American in the form of higher prices, suppressed economic opportunity, decreased access to goods and services and foregone tax revenues. All immigrants, from those with deep roots in the United States, to newcomers seeking asylum or greater economic prosperity, to temporary and permanent workers and those joining close family members all are vital parts of America’s secret sauce of economic success. 

The Republican Party cannot simultaneously claim to be the party of economic growth and opportunity while embracing nativism and white nationalism as their central governing philosophy and election strategy. The short- and long-term consequences of Republican lawmakers’ nativism jeopardizes the economic prospects for every American in a nation enriched and fortified by each new generation of immigrants, refugees and those who have sought and received asylum on our shores.”