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Fronteras: $1.3 Trillion In Spending Power — Mapping The Impact Of Immigrants On America’s Economy

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People wait in line to receive a meal at a migrant camp in Matamoros, MX.
Veronica Cardenas for Texas Public Radio
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People wait in line to receive a meal at a migrant camp in Matamoros, MX.
Jeremy Robbins, executive director of the New American Economy. | Credit: New American Economy
New American Economy
Jeremy Robbins, executive director of the New American Economy.

Study Highlights Immigrant’s Contributions To U.S. Economy

Anti-immigrant rhetoric sometimes centers around the impact on the U.S. workforce, claiming people come into the country to steal jobs or drive down wages. But a new study by the New American Economy — a bipartisan think tank and advocacy organization — reveals how immigrants benefit the American economy and society as a whole.

“If you just look at the U.S.-born population in Texas, about 60% of the population is of prime working age,” Jeremy Robbins, executive director of the organization, explained. “But when you look at the immigrants in Texas, more than 80% of them are between 16 and 64, because people are coming here for a job to make a better life. And that has huge benefits to the economy.”

The project “Map the Impact” examines the effect of immigrants and refugees on a variety of categories, including taxes, healthcare, housing and entrepreneurship. The interactive project allows users to explore their state, county, and local congressional district to better understand the role immigrants play in their economy, such as the industries in which they work, their spending power, how much they pay in taxes and their business start rate.

“The rate at which we are starting new businesses in America has been declining in recent years, and that's scary,” Robbins warned, but he noted immigrants are increasingly filling that gap, including in Texas. “The businesses that (immigrants) start generate more than $10 billion in income every year, and that gets injected back into the economy through taxes and through consumption.”

Robbins is hopeful the study will ultimately shift the argument around immigration by reimagining it not as an invasion but as a step towards prosperity.

Houston plumber Eduardo Dolande shows where pipes burst inside his own home during the Texas freeze.
Elizabeth Trovall | Houston Public Media
Houston plumber Eduardo Dolande shows where pipes burst inside his own home during the Texas freeze.

After Texas Freeze, Immigrants Play Critical Role In Repairing Tens Of Thousands Of Homes

Nearly a month after the devastating winter freeze, Texans are facing tens of thousands of home repairs, and some still don’t have running water.

Immigrants will play an outsized role in helping families get their houses back in order, while also dealing with destruction in their own communities.

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren