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Group shows impact immigrants have on U.S. communities

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The Partnership for a New American Economy has gathered statistics that show the economic impact of immigrants in the United States, and launched an interactive online map, called the “Map of Impact,” that showcases new research on the contributions immigrants have on the communities throughout the country.

According to its Facebook page, the organization wants to ensure that S.C. policymakers support immigration reform policies that will promote continued economic growth, and protect the rights of S.C. immigrants. 

Immigration reform is one of the key issues facing farmers in South Carolina, said Gary Spires, director of government relations for the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation.

“Immigration reform is vital for us to have a legal workforce, so we can plant our crops,” Spires said. “Crops are perishable, and there is a window of time in which we can get them in and out. It’s imperative to have a reliable workforce when needed.”

Spires said his group is adhering to the H2B visa program which is a temporary work visa for foreign workers with a job offer for seasonal work in the U.S. It is open to nationals of countries designated by the United State Secretary of Homeland and is capped at 66,000 visas per year.

 “(H2B) can be an expensive and complicated program,” Spires said. “We are small businesses, we don’t have big staffs to do paperwork. They have to hire people to do that paperwork so we meet the federal requirements and doing everything legally.”

NAE is circulating an open letter among its coalition partners that will be sent to the members of the state’ congressional delegation. This call to action letter on immigration reform urges our state’s representatives in Congress to use Map the Impact so they can see the overall impact of foreign-born residents living in their District.

Statewide highlights include:

  • There are 225,651 foreign-born residents making up 4.7% of the population.
  • Immigrants paid $1.3 billion in state and local taxes and held $4.1 billion in spending power in 2014.
  • Foreign-born workers make up 9% of all entrepreneurs in South Carolina, despite only accounting for 4.7% of the state’s population.
  • With 7.1% of recent home purchases in South Carolina being made by were foreign-born immigrants, these 50,255 homeowners are strengthening our state’s residential market.
  • Nationally, immigrants are 17.2% more likely to hold an advanced degree than native-born citizens. 

Reach Travis Boland at 803-726-7543.

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