The economy of The United States is recovering from The Great Recession, according to many economic indicators, and one recent study points to legal immigration as a factor of said recovery. The study, conducted at Duke University, cites that for every thousand immigrants living in a county, forty six manufacturing jobs were created or preserved that would otherwise not exist or have moved elsewhere, illustrating a mandate to reform the manufacturing business.
To many in the manufacturing business, this a call for reform.
“The manufacturing industry has struggled to keep jobs in the U.S. This report shows that immigrants have a role in keeping and creating manufacturing jobs. Reforming our broken immigration system will allow us to revitalize more communities that rely on manufacturing jobs,” said Todd Bingham, President of the Utah Manufacturers Association.
The study also found that immigration has a role to play in community development and wealth development nationwide. Citing that for thousand immigrants that arrive to any given county, two hundred seventy of those immigrants are American-born. Additionally the study found that an immigrant who moves to a community, on average, raises the total value of housing wealth in that county by $92,800.
Dale Cox, President of the Utah AFL-CIO, views the results of the study as a call to action. “These numbers are great, but we need to find a path to come into the sunlight without exploiting them.”
In 2011, former Representative Bill Wright (R – American Fork) sponsored HB 116, legislation enacting a guest worker program for undocumented workers living in Utah. The bill passed both chambers, but enforcement has been posponed for years.
While debate about immigration reform has been fiery on Capitol Hill, there appears to be no major development or deal being made by either side. Rep. Wright could not be reached to comment on the story.