“Gateways for Growth Challenge” to Highlight, Enhance Immigrants’ Economic Contributions

In December 2015, the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) and Welcoming America put out an open call for applications from chambers of commerce, local governments, and civil society organizations across the United States to participate in the Gateways for Growth Challenge. Through this Challenge, communities were offered economic research, technical assistance, and/or matching grants to develop strategic plans that highlight and enhance the economic contributions of immigrants.

In March, after a competitive review of applications submitted by more than 25 states, PNAE and Welcoming America announced the 20 communities selected as finalists:

  • Akron and Summit County, OH
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Brownsville, TX
  • Columbus, OH
  • Detroit, MI
  • Fargo, ND
  • Houston, TX
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Kansas City, KS/MO
  • Lancaster, PA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Macomb County, MI
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Phoenix, AZ and Arizona State
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Salt Lake County, UT
  • Upstate NY Region (Syracuse/Buffalo, NY)

Following this announcement, local officials and news outlets around the country responded:

Salt Lake’s Deseret News issued an editorial stating that “instead of scapegoating immigrants, Salt Lake County has recognized the value of recruiting and supporting new residents who can serve in an entrepreneurial capacity to further economic growth. The county has helped form the ‘New Americans Task Force,’ made up of 60 business and community leaders called together to brainstorm ways to recruit and support immigrant entrepreneurs. The initiative is not about charity. Business leaders have come to recognize that new immigrants guide innovation in many fields. More than a third of innovators were born outside of the U.S., according to Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, who helped organize the task force.”

“In New Orleans, diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and our city maintains deep roots with immigrant communities,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in Biz New Orleans. “The ‘Gateways for Growth Challenge’ recognizes New Orleans as an inclusive and welcoming city for all its residents and visitors. Our participation is important to creating the New Orleans we always knew she could be.”

About the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE):

PNAE brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The coalition’s members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech, and Media to Manufacturing. Coalition members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse, and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations.

PNAE Principles:

  • Secure our borders and prevent illegal immigration through tougher enforcement and better use of technology;
  • Develop a simple and secure system for employers to verify employment eligibility and hold businesses that are not compliant, or abuse visa programs, accountable for their actions;
  • Increase opportunities for immigrants to enter the United States workforce — and for foreign students to stay in the United States to work — so that we can attract and keep the best, the brightest and the hardest-working, who will strengthen our economy;
  • Create a streamlined process by which employers can get the seasonal and permanent employees they need, when Americans aren’t filling vacant jobs;
  • Establish a path to legal status for the undocumented currently living in the United States with requirements such as registering with the federal government, learning English, paying taxes and following all laws; and
  • Strengthen federal, state, local, and employer-sponsored programs that offer English language, civics, and educational classes to immigrants.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…