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New Report: Immigrant Impact on New York

November 26, 2007

New York, NY — A new report finds that immigrants are not only a big part of the downstate economy, but they also work jobs that are key to upstate. In fact, immigrants drive 22 percent of New York's economy, and comprise 21 percent of the state's total population.

David Kallick with the Fiscal Policy Institute says that adds up to $229 billion from immigrant labor in all sectors of the economy.

"That includes a lot of immigrants who are investment bankers and architects, and doctors and nurses, as well as the day laborers you see on the street corner."

While much of the political controversy over immigration has focused on day laborers, Kallick says less than 1 percent of the 4 million immigrants who live in New York are employed in that capacity. And upstate, immigrants account for 5 percent of the population. Norman Eng with the New York Immigration Coalition says they work in key jobs that help boost the region's stagnant economy.

"Sectors like higher education, health care, research and development, and agriculture are critical sectors for the future of upstate New York. Immigrants are playing a really important part in them."

New York City often points to its growing population as a sign of economic health. Eng says the native-born population has been flat over the last 25 years, with immigrants fueling the growth.

"Over time, immigrants are really becoming a part of our community by learning English, buying homes, starting businesses and raising American kids."

The full report is available online, at www.fpi.org.

Michael Clifford/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - NY