New tool provides information about immigrant economics
Wednesday, October 11, 2023
A new tool encapsulates information about immigrants in New York and across the U.S.
The Immigration Research Initiative's new data tool found immigrants make up 23% of New York state's population and contribute around $500 billion to the state's gross domestic product. While the new tool doesn't look at arriving migrants, it does account for population shifts during the pandemic.
Anthony Capote, senior data and policy analyst for the Immigration Research Initiative, hopes policymakers can use the information to help develop immigrant legislation.
"If there are lots of immigrants in your state who are lacking in English language proficiency, that's a good sign from a policy perspective that it's time to bolster English as a Second Language programs," Capote asserted. "Either in the schools or create secondary language on things like ballots and tax information."
New York State allocated $43 million to fund an Office for New Americans. The funding provides immigrants with free legal service, workforce development, English language learning, and mental health support. The tool showed 30% of New York immigrants already speak English quite well.
Capote pointed out the tool is also designed to dispel misinformation about immigrants, particularly that immigration is not a racial issue, or the narrative that immigrants are low-wage workers. The data from this new tool finds the opposite is true.
"Most immigrants are in middle-wage jobs or upper-wage jobs, that means that they are earning at least two-thirds of the median income," Capote explained. "Many of them are also making two times the median income, putting them in an upper-wage category."
He added immigrants are being pushed into lower-wage jobs, meaning they make less than $35,000 per year at a full-time job. Based on the data, Capote noted many immigrants do not have the capacity to meet the cost of living since they are not making enough.
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