Study: Minnesota immigrants make positive impact on economy

With immigration reform in the spotlight lately, there has been much debate across the nation about how immigrants affect the economy. Some may claim that such foreign-born residents drain funds; however, a study conducted in Minnesota shows that immigrants are actually making significant contributions to the state’s economy.

The Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition, in collaboration with the Americas Society Council of the Americas, and the Partnership for a New American Economy, published a report revealing that immigrants have had a positive effect on the state economy. It found that immigrant purchasing power reached around $7.7 billion, and this population group contributed more than $22 billion to Minnesota’s gross domestic product. Another $1 billion went to local and state taxes – money that is distributed for the benefit of all citizens.

Some people may argue that immigration reform initiatives allow more foreign-born individuals to take jobs away from non-immigrants. However, as Sarah Radosevich, policy research analyst with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and member of the coalition, told ABC-affiliated KSTP, that isn’t a real issue.

“You know, on a case by case basis, that might be happening at the very micro level, but what the evidence shows, and this has been widely studied across the U.S., is that over time having immigrants here leads to more job opportunities for everyone,” Radosevich said.

As she goes on to explain, many of the new jobs created by immigrant business owners are available right in the Twin Cities area. For example, entrepreneur and immigrant Abdirahman Kahin, who owns Minneapolis restaurant Afro Deli & Coffee, sees up to 600 customers each day, and the business has shown such success that he plans to open a second location, which will provide even more open jobs for locals.