Summer in New England is a magical time of year. With up to six states in driving distance there is no shortage of destinations for leisure, dining, or outdoor adventures. Over the years my wife and I have road-tripped up the Massachusetts coast, watched the Red Sox at Fenway, visited Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, toured The Breakers in Rhode Island, took the ferry to P-Town, enjoyed many quiet summer nights in Maine – the list goes on. There is no shortage of options and the fun is also discovering small (but important) regional differences – how do you prefer a lobster roll, where do you find the best whoopie pie, do you like Rhode Island’s clear clam chowder?
Now you may be wondering what any of this has to do with immigration. It is really simple. Despite local cultural differences, each New England state benefits from immigrants. Immigrants are an economic powerhouse in spending power, job creation, and tax dollars. Every summer I meet people in the New England region from all over the world here on work visas, green card holders, or my personal favorite J-1 Summer Work and Travel visa holders working on Cape Cod.
Let’s take a deeper look at the data. In the granite state, New Hampshire, immigrants paid $1 billion in taxes and have $3.1 billion in spending power. This is incredibly impressive as immigrants are about 6.4% of the state’s population (1.3 million people). If we move west and look at Maine, the data is similar, $1.2 billion in spending power and notably international students contribute $49.4 million to the local economy. Even our smallest New England state, Rhode Island, with a population of 1.096 million, boasts some impressive data: $206.6 million in total business income from immigrant entrepreneurs, 23.5% of STEM workers are immigrants, and 1,753 jobs are supported by international students. Finally, in Vermont, immigrants boast $747.7 million in spending power, which is outstanding since the total state population is under 700,000 people.
Not surprisingly, Massachusetts presents some of the strongest data across all areas from job creation to tax dollars paid. More specifically: Immigrants are 17.35% of the state’s population; paid $15 billion in taxes; $37.3 billion in spending power; Immigrant entrepreneurs total business income was $2.3 billion; International students contributed $2.5 billion to the local economy and 27,649 jobs are support by international students; Undocumented immigrants paid $696.million in taxes; DACA recipients paid $104.6 million in taxes; and TPS holders paid 66.3 million in taxes.
Immigrants are a vital piece of the fabric of our local communities as they spur innovation, create jobs, and stimulate our local economies. When we discuss immigration reform and the importance of immigration in the United States, the economic impact of immigrants cannot be omitted. The data is too telling that we as a nation immensely benefit from our immigrant population. If you examine the data for your respective state a similar story will unfold. I encourage any attorney who is advocating at the local or national level to use and share this data. We cannot deny the economic impact immigrants have on the United States at all levels. As I head up to Maine in a few weeks, I have no doubt I’ll encounter a summer J-1 or a foreign tourist enjoying the beauty of ‘The Pine Tree’ state along with me.
Not from New England but wondering how your state (or vacation destination) stacks up? All these data points and more are at your fingertips at the American Immigration Council’s Map the Impact page, so go ahead and dive in and Map the Impact!