Many agree the immigration system is broken, and there’s a national debate on how best to fix it. This debate is sometimes based on emotions, not on data. But a new study released Tuesday is taking a closer look at the numbers.
Asmaa Albukaie was Boise’s first refugee from Syria, arriving in late 2014.
“For me as a refugee, I came searching for safety and peace,” Albukaie says.
She found that. She also found work.
Of course, refugees are only a small part of the immigrant story. A survey released Tuesday looks at the state-by-state impact of all immigrants on the U.S. economy.
Jeremy Robbins is the Executive Director of New American Economy, a group that studied what the Idaho community of more than 100,000 immigrants means to the state.
“The immigrants in Idaho pay $460 million in taxes every year,” Robbins says. “They have more than $1.5 billion in spending power and they’ve started more than 4,000 businesses in Idaho.”
And those businesses, Robbins says, employ more than 14,000 people. Since 2010, his group has advocated for comprehensive immigration reform. He’s heard concerns about border security, and agrees. In fact, that’s the first principle of the group’s platform. But moving beyond that, he says, the numbers show opportunity.