Immigrant Heritage Month 2015

By Monica Ramirez

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  1. Immigrants in the United States have been under attack in recent years. They have been subjected to state anti-immigrant measures in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and other states that were intended to force them to “self-deport” from the United States. They have been blamed for many problems in our country, ranging from myths about spreading diseases to being blamed for our sinking economy. The truth is that immigrants make significant and important contributions to the United States.
  2. According to a 2015 report by The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, immigrants contributed an estimated $11.84 billion dollars in state and local taxes in 2012. In addition, new immigrants have been among the key innovators and entrepreneurs in our nation since the 1800’s, including individuals like telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell. A key finding from a report published in 2011 by The Partnership for a New American Economy reflects that “more than 40 percent of the 2010 Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.”
  3. The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that one out of ten immigrants is a business owner. Of these business owners, about two thirds of them reportedly use their own savings or money from family members as start-up funds.
  4. Immigrants made up about 16% of the labor force in 2014. Immigrant workers not only fulfill important roles in the U.S. labor market, but they are also responsible for assisting in job creation, according to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and the Partnership for a New American Economy. For example, immigrant students who are educated in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) and remain in the U.S. to work create an estimated 2.62 American jobs.
  5. In 2014, the U.S. Social Security Administration estimated that undocumented immigrant workers alone have contributed an estimated $100 billion dollars toward social security in just over a decade. In fact, these workers pay in about $15 billion dollars toward social security benefits per year, while drawing only about $1 billion dollars of these funds. Most of these workers are unlikely to receive a benefit from the funds that they have contributed.
  6. Despite the fact that many measures have been taken to beat down and drive out immigrants from the United States, American immigrants have continued to make meaningful economic contributions for the benefit of our entire nation. The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda celebrates and thanks all of these individuals for continuing to make our nation strong. Our future is bright because of their efforts.
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