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LETTER: Immigration contributes to economy

By Steve Wilcox
On March 17, 2014

To the editor:

It was a normal October evening as Congress began closing down after the hard day’s work when it were immediately seized upon by pro-immigration protesters, demanding attention for the abolishment of the immigration reform bill set in place by President George W. Bush in 2007. The New York Times reported, “Their version would provide a conditional path to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States, pour billions of dollars into the efforts to seal off and secure the southern border and ports of entry, create a new work visa for future immigrants.”

In my opinion, I see through the eyes of these immigrants, wanting a better life here in America, but due to the unfortunate mercy of birth, they weren’t able to live here freely. Immigration has a far greater impact for good on America’s economy, far better than I think the average American realizes.

When it comes to the actual subject of immigrants, I am not suggesting we just open our borders for anybody to just pass on by, but what I am saying is that we shouldn’t make a fuss over all the immigrants now living in our country with us as long as they are legal or working for full citizenship. Many Americans worry about the negative effects immigrants can have on our economy, like the usual concerns that they don’t pay taxes or contribute to society; but on the contrary, they contribute a lot.

There is a common misconception about immigration when it comes to the work force; many Americans believe immigrants tend to steal away our jobs. Well, this common stereotype isn’t necessarily the case. The state of Alaska recently came out with an article through the American Immigration Council, welcoming all immigrant entrepreneurs and innovators into their state. The state said “there is no doubt that immigrant entrepreneurs and innovators play an important role. Immigrant entrepreneurs bring in additional revenue, create jobs and contribute to the state’s economy. Highly skilled immigrants are vital to the state’s innovation industries and to the metropolitan areas within the state, helping to boost local economies.”

According to the same reporters from the American Immigration Council, “From 2006 to 2010, there were 3,394 new immigrant business owners in Alaska in 2010, (and) 10.1 percent of all business owners in Alaska were foreign-born. (Also) in 2010, new immigrant business owners had a total net business income of $160 million, which is 7.8 percent of all net business income in the state.” From these stats, the citizens of Alaska are welcoming new immigrants. I believe these numbers would also reflect what will happen in almost every state if we were to let immigrants stay without deporting them.

Think about it; if 50 people decide to join a community of 1,000 people, who is going to feed these 50 new immigrants? Who will give them jobs? If they each take one job, does that mean 50 of the original 1,000 people will lose jobs? These are common questions we think about with immigration, but having these additional 50 will insure 50 more people will be shopping at our stories, eating from our restaurants, and contributing to our economy. Perhaps some of these 50 will create jobs within the community.

For these men, women and children who protested outside of the Capitol on that cool October night, I express my concern on the subject of immigration. Through study, I have found immigration contributes to our economy and does not take away from it. The advice I give to those worried about the subject would be to let these immigrants stay in the country, and have the government help these immigrants become permanent US citizens. These immigrants are our neighbors and friends and should not be treated as enemies.

Steve Wilcox

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