A project of the Center for Community Change

Why Immigration Could be a Solution to America’s Problem…

Yesterday a column was published in the Kansas City Star outlining how immigrants contribute to both our economy and our workforce that maintains that economy. The article cites some interesting facts from a recent Migration Policy Institute.

“About one in three immigrants is a person with either a U.S. or foreign college degree.” So much for the image of huddled undereducated masses slipping across borders. One in six members of America’s 130 million-person labor force came to our shores an immigrant.

In 2007, 15 percent of all college graduates in the U.S. labor force were immigrants. Of the 6.5 million college-educated foreign born, one-third arrived in the last 10 years.

About 18 percent of college-educated immigrants were of Latino descent.

And here is the statistic that ought to embarrass U.S. citizens by birth: College-educated immigrants are more likely than native-born graduates to achieve postgraduate degrees. And they are far more likely to be educated in high-tech, science or engineering — all areas vital to sustaining the nation in the future.

The article concludes that with Janet Napolitano as our the new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, our Nation will be able to fully absorb and take advantage of the talent and economic power immigrants bring to the table.

Every economic downturn in U.S. history has produced a backlash against the most recent immigrant arrivals. But maybe this time it can be different.

America needs more than ever to retool itself for future economic growth. Immigrants are a source of innovation and inspiration that can help us rebound — just as they always have been.

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