Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Immigration a plus, not a minus, for RI economy

How immigration helps the Rhode Island economy 
By Will Collette

A brand new report from WalletHub compares the extent to which immigrants contribute to the economies of each state by generating jobs and economic activity.

One of the big lies about immigration is that immigrants somehow drain the economy and represent a burden when, in fact, just about every study shows the positive contribution immigrants make to our economy, culture and quality of life.

This new report shows that, among the states, Rhode Island ranks 14th considering all categories.
Source: WalletHub

What I found most interesting were the categories where immigrants play the most significant role in Rhode Island.

In two of the metrics studied by WalletHub, Rhode Island made the Top Five among the states in "Highest percentage of jobs created by the presence of international students" and "Economic contribution of international students per capital.

Washington, DC and Massachusetts tied for first in both of those categories. New York edged out Rhode Island for 3rd place in student-related jobs creation, pushing us into 4th, but Rhode Island came in 3rd place in terms of overall economic contribution per international student.

For more than a decade, anti-immigrant bigots, including Donald Trump himself, have proclaimed that immigrants are stealing our money and our jobs.

And they cite plenty of fake facts and imaginary stories to back themselves up. At the same time, serious research has been done by government and academics to find out what is really happening.

The overwhelming evidence is that immigrants not only pay their fair share, but contribute mightily to our nation's well-being.

One of my favorite studies was one conducted by the Texas State Comptroller (a Republican) with the intent to find out how much immigrants harmed the state - when the results were tallied, they found that immigrants contributed a net benefit to Texas of almost half a billion dollars a year.

Like so many other issues we debate so fiercely these days, the facts prove immigration is a benefit to the country despite the phony rhetoric coming from the ultra-right.

Unless you are a full-bodied Native American, your own family came to this country as immigrants. Whether you were welcomed or scorned is an interesting piece of family history to explore, but the bottom line is that each succeeding generation of immigrants contributed to the building of America.