This election cycle has brought about the worst immigrant bashing in decades—most of it completely unsupported by any facts. The constant barrage of blame is having an effect on many immigrant communities, and not simply the new arrivals, refugees, and unauthorized workers who are most often targeted through fearmongering. What is consistently lost in the rhetoric is how immigrants who are studying and working in the United States keep our economic engine operating at the highest level.
Oklahoman Craig Knutson, the president of Growing Global, hit the nail on the head with his fact-based discussion of the economic powerhouse that is U.S. immigration (Norman businessman: Growing weary of trade, immigration bashing). “The positive impact immigrants have had on our economy,” he notes has been demonstrated in both government and private research “using data.”
Countless foreign scientists, researchers, engineers, doctors, and innovators are in the United States contributing every day to the growth of the economy and the safety of our nation, engaging in vital activities such as curing disease, creating new companies, and discovering new and better ways of improving commerce. As they perform their work, they also put Americans to work.
How do these immigrants feel as they wait in antiquated and artificially long queues for lawful permanent resident status while raising families, paying taxes, buying homes, and shopping in stores? With all of the inflammatory back and forth, I can only imagine that they feel they are not wanted.
This negativity creates fear among all immigrants, including those who create small businesses in America. In fact, immigrants created 18 percent of new small businesses. So I was happy to see that the Partnership for a New American Economy, joined by AILA and other stakeholders, launched a campaign this week highlighting the contributions that immigrants make to every single state in the union.
The reality is that the vast majority of immigrants are in the United States because they want to create better lives for themselves and their families, in a country that encourages and rewards creativity and innovation. They are proud of their personal successes and their contributions to the economic success of the United States. Mr. Knutson is correct. The positive impact we all benefit from is fact, not rhetoric.
By Matt Maiona, Member, AILA Media Advocacy Committee