Where does innovation come from? This was the question at the heart of a recent study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The answer: immigrants are a driving force behind American innovation, with over a third of U.S. innovators born outside the country.
An updated report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States pay $11.6 billion in state and local taxes each year. If the undocumented population were granted legal status, this figure would increase by $2.1 billion.
Immigrants are playing a key role in Detroit’s auto industry recovery, a trend documented in this Bloomberg piece. “Companies ranging from small operations such as Midwest Freight to bigger ones like Denso, a Japanese auto parts maker, are tapping immigrant workers to fill a labor shortage.” The contribution immigrants are making to the city’s auto industry reflects their broader economic impact: While 9 percent of the Detroit area’s residents are foreign-born, this population contributes around 11 percent of the region’s economic output.
One year ago, Julissa Arce shared her story of becoming a vice president at Goldman Sachs at the age of 27—as an undocumented immigrant. Now a U.S. citizen, she writes about the many benefits of immigration reform: “[it] would strengthen our national security and enhance our global competitiveness by training and keeping the next generation of innovators here in the U.S. instead of sending them back to their countries of origin so they can compete against us.”
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The latest piece on the PNAE blog discusses the outsize role that immigrants play in America’s fashion industry. Examples of this influence abound: some of the country’s most venerable fashion houses were founded by immigrants like Diane von Furstenberg and Oscare de la Renta, and over half of the shows in this year’s New York Fashion Week were by houses whose head creative designers are immigrants.