The group Partnership for a New American Economy says immigrants spend more than $240 million in our community.
According to a study released Tuesday: Immigrants in Toledo pay $31 million various taxes…are 2-times more likely to have a college degree and are 2-times more likely to own their own business. Toledo’s losing population, there’s a brain drain and workers need jobs. Ironically, advocates say immigration can solve those issues.
The study’s results were welcomed by community leaders. Lucas County commissioner Carol Contrada (D) said immigrants’ contributions to Toledo were “positive. It’s wonderful. Immigrants are coming to Toledo to forge a new life and are finding room in Toledo.”
The study says that, over the last 8 years, the city’s US born population has dropped 12-percent but immigration has jumped 14-percent.
County commissioner Pete Gerken (D) says that proves we’ve “absolutely wiped out the population loss and added 2-percent.”
Midwestern cities like Toledo need to reverse population loss that occurs as college- educated workers move to find job opportunities.
But the study found many immigrants come to Toledo with advanced degrees and that could help attract business.
Paul Toth, the president of the Toledo- Lucas County Port Authority said, “Companies like communities that are growing and that are showing a positive momentum and I think Toledo’s kind of on the cusp of that.”
But the feeling is not universal. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said one day before the study’s release, immigration is “out of control. We have no idea who is coming into our country.”
Some want to slow down, if not stop, immigration.
There is concern about terrorism and undocumented workers taking jobs from Americans.
Even the cost of supporting immigrants, at least in the short term, has some worried.
But Dan Ridi, who came to America from Lebanon with nothing, now owns a business and employees 400 people.
He says, “Had I immigrated anywhere else, including the Arab countries, I would probably have nto been able to achieve what I achieved here in America.”
It’s that opportunity that attracts people from around the world; people who were born somewhere else but want to make America their home.
Baldemar Velasquez, the head of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) says “America is exactly that. It assimilates cultures from all over the world and comes out with the best.”
Iimmigration is a big issue in the presidential race and everyone agrees there are legitimate concerns.
But the study indicates immigration is a winner for Toledo.