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Immigration fuels the Great Lakes region

Ben Goldstein on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 9:00:00 am 

The Great Lakes region is an economic powerhouse, fueled by manufacturing, international trade and a combined GDP of more than $6 trillion.

One of the biggest drivers of regional growth is sometimes absent from the popular narrative—immigration. That message is on display in a new report from the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, published in partnership with New American Economy.

“We wanted to respond to the narrative that our region is isolationist and not welcoming of immigrants,” said Brandon Mendoza, manager of government affairs at the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. “We wanted to say, 'actually, immigration in this region has helped accelerate our economies away from what folks refer to as the Rust Belt and the manufacturing decline.'”

One important way that immigration fuels economic growth is by combatting population decline and out-migration. Immigrants were responsible for more than half of the region’s population growth from 2000–15. Foreign-born workers are also younger, on average, than their native-born counterparts, which helps keep the region’s workforce youthful and vital as Baby Boomers retire in large numbers.

“When you look at the top 25 metros in the Great Lakes area, immigration has been a net-positive in terms of reversing out-migration and growing their populations,” said Mendoza. “It’s a lifeblood for a lot of these cities like Pittsburgh, Rochester or Akron, where slow population growth really acts as a drag on economic growth, in general.”

But immigrants are not only filling jobs, the report found. They are also creating them, in large numbers. The study found that immigrant entrepreneurs make up 20 percent of small business owners, and have created over 226,000 jobs in the region from 2000–15.

“Immigrants, by their very nature, are risk-takers,” explained Mendoza. “They’re taking a big risk moving to a foreign country and restarting, so they’re more inclined to start new businesses.”

Mendoza stressed that immigration should be understood as a regional issue, not a national one.

“Our whole message is that we should be thinking about immigration in terms of regions,” he said. “In the Great Lakes region, we really need to make sure our immigration numbers are high and we’re supporting high-skill immigrants, as well as comprehensive legislation at some point in the future.”

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Tags: Research, Survey, Great Lakes Chambers Coalition, Great Lakes Region, Immigration

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Iowa Compact

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

On Tuesday, Dec. 13 The Greater Des Moines Partnership helped launch the Iowa Compact focusing on uniting a diverse group of statewide partners to call for smart immigration reform. Utah, Indiana, and Maine have launched similar initiatives. Chambers in all 4 states have been key leaders in these efforts. The event has garnered significant national attention.

The Iowa Compact follows a pre-made cookie cutter format that can easily be replicated in the 46 states that have yet to create a compact.

New Poll: Iowa Republican Likely Caucus-Goers Support Immigration Reform

About the Iowa Compact

Press Coverage:

How the First Caucus State is Offering a Sensible—and Popular—Solution on Immigration Reform
http://americasvoiceonline.org/blog/entry/how_iowa_is_fixing_the_conventional_wisdom/

The Gazette (Editorial): Find middle ground on immigration
December 14, 2011
http://thegazette.com/2011/12/14/find-middle-ground-on-immigration/

Des Moines Register: ‘Enforcement-only’ immigrant efforts could hurt Iowa economy, especially farming, say leaders
By Donnelle Eller
December 13, 2011
http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2011/12/13/enforcement-only-immigrant-effprts-could-hurt-iowa-economy-especially-farming-say-leaders/

Salt Lake City Tribune: Iowa launches immigration compact similar to Utah’s
By David Montero
December 13, 2011
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/53107063-90/immigration-iowa-utah-compact.html.csp
Modeled after The Utah Compact, which was signed a little more than a year ago by key business, religious and political leaders, The Iowa Compact features similar language and goals. Lori Chesser, chair of the Iowa Immigration Education Coalition, ...

Quad City Times: Iowa group release initiative for stronger immigration policy
By Michael Wiser
December 13, 2011
http://www.qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/iowa-group-release-initiative-for-stronger-immigration-policy/article_c477ad88-25ee-11e1-9ed7-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz1gW6aqZ4Y
She also serves as a chairwoman of the Iowa Immigration Education Coalition, a group that conducts research and provides briefs on immigration issues. “A lot of the detailed discussion still has to take place … we want to corral that debate. ...

Radio Iowa: Group calls on federal lawmakers to handle immigration reform
By Dar Danielson
December 13, 2011
http://www.radioiowa.com/2011/12/13/group-calls-on-federal-lawmakers-to-handle-immigration-reform/
A bipartisan group of business, law enforcement and religious leaders have formed what they call the “Iowa Compact” in a push for immigration reform. Members of the group spoke today on a conference call about the five key principles of the compact. ...

Public News Service: Local Leaders Sign "Iowa Compact" for Immigration Reform
December 14, 2011
http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/23789-2

Des Moines Register: New bi-partisan Iowa group calling for “smart” immigration reform
By Jason Clayworth
December 12, 2011
http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2011/12/12/new-bi-partisan-iowa-group-calling-for-smart-immigration-reform/

Des Moines Register: Group: See immigration as positive for economy
By Donnelle Eller and Jason Clayworth
December 12, 2011
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20111213/BUSINESS/312130036/Group-See-immigration-as-positive-for-economy

Tags: Immigration, Iowa Compact, Utah Compact

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Immigration:
Tales from a Border City

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 1:03:19 pm 

El Paso has been a key to the immigration conversation. For example, Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Dayoub serves on Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s Southwest Border Security Task Force. He recently wrote an article for the El Paso Times on immigration reform and its importance to our economy. His article was referenced in the White House summary report on Immigration Reform released after President Obama’s speech in El Paso on May 10 (transcript). 

Read Richard’s Op-Ed: Richard Dayoub: Fix immigration, boost our economy

The administration has reached out to Richard and other business leaders to participate on task forces or in Immigration Action Roundtables with other community leaders, including faith organizations and law enforcement. The Obama administration hopes that by conducting Immigration Action Roundtables in communities around the country (like this round table in Omaha: Entrepreneurs key to fixing our broken immigration system) that a bipartisan national conversation on immigration can help fix our broken system.

Read more:
Whitehouse.gov: Blueprint for Building a 21st Century Immigration System
Secretary Napolitano Op-Ed: It’s time for congress to act on border security

Tags: Immigration

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