It should come as no surprise that foreign nationals make incredible economic contributions to our local and federal economies. Foreign nationals fill many holes in the domestic U.S. workforce across the entire spectrum of the country’s industries. Additionally, they pay taxes and contribute to their local and state communities in other immeasurable ways.
However, recent political events indicate that some groups may need to be reminded of this fact from time to time.
This week, three states (Michigan, Louisiana, and Nebraska) issued reports explaining the economic benefits provided to their economies by foreign workers in particular and foreign nationals in general.
The Michigan Office for New Americans (MONA) issued a report entitled “The Contributions of New Americans in Michigan.” MONA states that it collaborated with a bipartisan group, Partnership for a New American Economy, in order to research, write, and publish the report.
The report stated that there are an estimated 642,000 foreign nationals living in Michigan and that the state’s immigrant population has grown to 7% since 1990. The report claims that the foreign nationals living in Michigan earned approximately $19.6 billion in income and contributed nearly $5.5 billion in taxes. The publication goes on to praise the role foreign nationals continue to play in job creation, entrepreneurship, improving the state’s housing market, and meeting Michigan’s need for workers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields (commonly referred to as the STEM fields).
Louisiana’s report also confirms that foreign nationals have continued to boost that state’s lagging economy and goes even further to suggest that the undocumented foreign national population in the state should receive immigration relief. These foreign nationals make up nearly 10% of the state’s waste management, administrative, and support industries. The data listed on the report also claims that the undocumented foreign nationals have largely assimilated into the communities and customs of Louisiana.
The report also notes that foreign nationals as a whole make up approximately 4% of the state’s population and contributed nearly $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.
The report breaks down the sectors that receive the most contribution from foreign nationals, which include the state’s food service, hospitality, health care, and agriculture industries. According to the publication, foreign nationals working on business visas in Louisiana also heavily occupy the STEM fields and make up nearly 10% of the state’s entrepreneurs.
Nebraska’s report echoes the same sentiments and findings put forth by Michigan and Louisiana. The 40-page report includes the findings that undocumented foreign workers are keeping the state’s meatpacking plants and service industries running, that foreign nationals as a whole are helping to ensure that the state does not experience a population decline that results in a similar decline of business customers and taxpayers, and that foreign nationals have paid $616 million in taxes in Nebraska since 2014.
The report also indicates that nearly half of the state’s undocumented foreign national population speak English very well and have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.
Many individuals tend to look at the topic of foreign nationals in the United States with tunnel-visioned inaccuracy. The reports mentioned above counter the misconception that their presence only generates negative impacts to the economy and American communities.
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