As Republic presidential hopefuls battle for Hispanic votes in Florida, the immigration debate returns to the national media’s (short) attention span. However, economic downturns tend to keep the debate very shallow. All statements on the issue revolve around a central question: Are immigrants a boost to economic growth or a drain on the economy?
The prevailing sentiment is that the millions of undocumented immigrants overload public services without contributing to the tax pool. The overwhelming evidence, however, shows that immigrants pay more in taxes, even without proper documentation, than they use in services.
But immigrants aren’t only low-wage workers that provide a good source of honest labor for employers; Immigrants also bring with them their ideas and dreams, many of which materialize into business ventures and inventions. Immigrants contribute with both low-skill and high-skill labor as well as an energetic entrepreneurial spirit.
One of our former board members, Randy K. Johnson, has been driving this point home for years. Randy is a senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is primarily responsible for labor, immigration, and employee benefits issues pending before Congress and the federal agencies. He was on Fox Business this week to talk about immigrant entrepreneurs:
Watch the latest video at video.foxbusiness.comWatch the latest video at video.foxbusiness.comIt was also great to read a mention of LIRS in the Chamber’s most recent report “Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy.” You can download the report here. They tell the story of Albert Yousif, a former refugee who bought the cleaning company he started working for back in 1993 and now employs several other refugees who share his determination to rebuild their lives. Here is the video we did with Albert last year:
At LIRS we know that immigrants contribute to our society. Not only in an economic sense. When we bring in a diversity of backgrounds, thinking patterns, cultural lineages, we enrich the variety of talents in American communities. This mix helps new futures emerge.
LIRS is lucky to have great partners, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that help us inform the country of the benefits immigrants bring to our marketplace.