Immigrants boost New York’s economy, new study finds
Newcomers staff over 25% of state’s nursing positions.
In recent weeks, immigration has taken center stage in American politics. The senate is mired in protracted border security negotiations and House Republicans are threatening to shut down the federal government over the so-called “migrant crisis.” But often lost in this hoopla is any discussion of the positive impact immigrants consistently have on the U.S. economy.
A new study from the American Immigration Council highlights how immigrants, including asylum seekers, are generating billions of dollars in revenue for New York state. Immigrants make up roughly one-fifth of the state’s total population but account for more than 25% of its workforce.
Some of the biggest contributors to economic growth are refugees and asylum seekers. The employment rate of New York’s refugee population is a staggering 91%. Annually, they contribute more than $1 billion in federal taxes.
The same study found that the state’s huge health care industry is sustained by immigrant labor. More than 25% of New York’s nurses and 50% of the state’s home health care aides are recent arrivals. Immigrants are also twice as likely to work as physicians and surgeons compared to their American-born counterparts.
And among the newcomers are more than 30% of all entrepreneurs in the state, generating approximately $7 billion in income.
At a recent campaign stop in Iowa, former President Donald Trump complained about migrants and asylum seekers attending public schools and receiving health care.
“Millions of people are coming across our border,” Trump said. “It’s horrible. People are going into schools now. They’re occupying schools and they don’t speak the language. They don’t even know what the language is. They’re sitting with your children in schools. They’re occupying the hospital beds.”
For Trump this is a fear-mongering tactic, but it is undercut by the fact that many migrants and undocumented people pay taxes that fund these services.
In 2021, according to the American Immigration Council study, undocumented immigrants in New York state paid $3 billion in state and federal taxes. Asylum seekers in New York who were granted temporary protected status contributed more than $268 million. DACA recipients paid more than $2 billion.
Last October, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, announced that the state had identified more than 18,000 job openings available to asylum seekers and migrants.
“Migrants and asylum seekers came here to work — so let’s put them to work,” Governor Hochul said. “Right now, we have a migrant crisis and a workforce crisis. By connecting work-eligible individuals with jobs and opportunity in New York, we can solve them both and secure a brighter future for all New Yorkers.”
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