New York Maintains Strong Economic Ties with Immigrants

U.S. Immigration History
The Statue of Liberty: A common symbol of American immigration though it was constructed late in the 19th century

With the Statue of Liberty located in its harbor on Liberty Island, New York’s iconic status in the nation’s immigration story manifests today with a foreign-born population of more than four million residents and more than one-quarter or the overall workforce in the state is classified as an immigrant. Through its Map the Impact project, The Partnership for a New American Economy reports those making up the category of Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAMers) account for 105,000 residents in the population. The significant numbers means federal immigration policy can work to either help or hinder the state’s economy and culture.

Based on an estimated $16 billion of induced economic impact and more than 53,000 new jobs in the next decade-and-a-half, the Map the Impact New York report argues passage of the bill incentivizes young immigrants to pursue higher education opportunities. And because education correlates to earning potential, the state benefits with the taxes and fees echoed in the purchase of items like cars, housing and electronics.

Of students attending New York universities in 2009, nearly 54 percent of graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) were immigrants. Of the STEM students earning PhDs between 2006 and 2010, nearly 70 percent were immigrants. Because of current immigration policy, however, the state is largely unable to tap the well-schooled segment. Visas for these immigrants are too limited, according to the report, and many of these brilliant minds are forced to leave the country.

“Reforming our immigration system will generate millions of dollars and thousands of jobs across New York. According to Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI),

“Undocumented immigrants who enroll in a legal path to citizenship will generate more than 29,000 jobs and more than $2.8 billion for the state by 2020,” according to numbers cited in the Map the Impact report. “Expanding the number of both high-skilled (H-1B) visas will also have positive economic effects.” The result of this would be “more than 21,600 jobs and add more than $2.3 billion to Gross State Product by 2014.”

China, Mexico an Jamaica are the countries of origin with the highest representation of immigrants in the state. From 2000-2010, the immigration growth rate of the state’s foreign-born population measured in at 11.8 percent.