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Study: Immigrants an Economic Engine For NY in Down Economy

October 22, 2008

New York, NY — At a time when retail sales are off and businesses are cutting back, a new study suggests that New York has a strong economic engine to draw on — immigrants. The Hagedorn Foundation study focused on the largest suburban immigrant community in the nation, on Long Island.

Adelphi University Economics Professor Mariano Torras authored the report and says that on average immigrants were clearly a benefit to the local economy in 2006.

"$7.5 billion in spending translates to a $10.6-billion economic impact and almost 82,000 jobs created."

In 2007 the nation went through a heated debate over immigration, and Dr. Torras says Census Bureau numbers show a 70-percent drop in the number of immigrants coming to the United States last year.

"It's kind of like a chicken-and-egg thing, or it works both ways; we're getting fewer immigrants because the economy is weakening. As a result of getting fewer immigrants, however, the local economy may weaken further."

The study investigated spending by both documented and undocumented immigrants, and found a net benefit in excess of $10 billion, based on productivity, payment of taxes and generation of new business.

While some people claim that immigrants cost society by using social services, the study's authors argue that their work and that of numerous others show that is untrue. The study calculates the average local immigrant contributed a net benefit of just over $2,300 in 2006.

Michael Clifford/Steve Powers, Public News Service - NY