New research from New American Economy finds that immigrants contribute $2.1 billion in state and local taxes and hold $18.4 billion in spending power.
On February 27, 2020 a coalition of business and industry leaders came together at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce to launch the Michigan Compact on Immigration, a set of key principles outlining the need for smart immigration policies at the federal and state levels that recognize the critical role immigrants play in helping drive Michigan’s economy forward. The Compact, whose signatories represent more than 20,000 companies and more than one million employees calls for a federal immigration system that responds to the needs of Michigan employers and workers in a time when talent attraction and retention is critical to the state’s economic growth.
The Michigan Compact on Immigration comes as new data from New American Economy’s (NAE) Map the Impact shows just how much value immigrants add to Michigan’s economy. In 2018, immigrants held $18.4 billion in spending power and paid $2.1 billion in state and local taxes. They are essential players in some of the state’s most important industries, from STEM to healthcare. While just seven percent of the state’s population, immigrants make up more than 17 percent of STEM workers, a critical role considering Michigan faces significant workforce shortages in STEM jobs. As of 2015, there were 19 open STEM jobs for every one unemployed STEM worker. Immigrants also make up 28 percent of physicians in the state. As job creators, immigrant-founded businesses generated over $27.3 billion in sales and employed over 167,000 Michiganders in 2016.
The West Coast Chamber joined fifteen other pro-business organizations in supporting and signing the compact. We encourage our members to sign as well. Read the Compact and its full list of signatories below.
Michigan Compact on Immigration
As signers of the Michigan Compact on Immigration, we are committed to promoting common-sense immigration reforms that will strengthen our economy, as well as attract talent and business to our state. Talent is the number one challenge facing Michigan employers and we recognize the critical role national immigration policy will play in driving continued economic growth.
In 2018 alone, immigrants in Michigan contributed $2.1 billion in state and local taxes and held $18.4 billion in spending power. Over 33,000 immigrant entrepreneurs generated more than $27 billion in total sales and employed over 167,000 Michiganders. Our ability to attract new citizens will be key to keeping our workforce young and competitive in some of our state’s most important industries, from agriculture and manufacturing to science, technology, engineering, tourism, and the service industry. Moreover, with nearly 190,000 immigrant homeowners in Michigan, as well as $1 billion spent in Michigan’s rental housing market, immigrants are helping to stabilize the state’s real estate markets, generating billions of dollars of wealth for Michiganders, as well as helping to revitalize and grow communities across the state.
Therefore, we support bipartisan immigration policy reforms that ensure the federal system meets the needs of our employers and labor market, while providing a permanent solution for undocumented residents who make significant contributions to our state and nation’s economy and enforcing our nation’s laws. Fundamental to such reforms are policies that both properly protect the security of our borders while facilitating the robust trade of goods, services, and labor that our nation enjoys with Canada, Mexico and other nations across the globe. Michigan’s immigration policies must reflect and affirm our goal to be the most welcoming, hospitable, and business-friendly state in the nation. Immigration has played a critical role in our history and is fundamental to future growth and prosperity.
We urge our congressional delegation and state leaders to adopt these five principles of the Michigan Compact on Immigration to guide the immigration discussion in our state. Further, we encourage local leaders to follow suit with practices and programs that create welcoming communities.
1. FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY:
Immigration policy is a federal issue between the U.S. government and other countries. We strongly urge the Michigan congressional delegation to work to enact immigration policies at the federal level that improve the immigration system, keep communities safe, protect our borders, and facilitate trade.
2. STRENGTHENING OUR ECONOMY & WORKFORCE:
For our state economy to grow and compete, Michigan needs a robust workforce and policies that prioritize attracting and retaining international talent. The federal immigration system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses while protecting the interests of workers. This includes a visa system that is both responsive to, and effective at, meeting the demands of Michigan’s economy and the industries that drive growth in our state.
3. A SENSIBLE PATH FORWARD:
Immigrants have always been and remain an important part of our communities across Michigan. Congress must adopt a common-sense approach to immigration that reflects long-established values and recognizes the critical role immigration has played in the history and economy of both our state, and nation. National immigration policies must provide a sensible path forward for immigrants wishing to come to our country and a permanent resolution for those who are of good character, pay taxes, and are committed to becoming fully participating members of our society and culture, but lack legal status
We urge a reasonable and predictable regulatory environment that considers the interests of, and unintended consequences to businesses, the workforce, and consumers. The broader reform effort should eventually include a way to accurately, reliably, and affordably determine who is permitted to work, ensuring an adequate workforce for a growing economy. Furthermore, reform should provide stability that allows immigrants to fully integrate into their new homes and invest in their careers
5. COMPETITIVE COMMUNITIES:
We recognize that the communities that are able to attract a competitive workforce will continue to grow and those communities are generally the ones who embrace and welcome new citizens. We support local efforts that create an environment that ensures that all residents have the tools and opportunities they need to succeed.
Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber
Business Leaders for Michigan
Detroit Regional Chamber
Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce
Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Agri-Business Association
Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association
Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce
Midland Business Alliance
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Association of Michigan