Tennessee is home to more than 322,000 immigrants with nearly $6 billion in annual spending power.
That’s according to the bipartisan New American Economy, which released state-specific data Tuesday that highlights the economic contributions of immigrants in their communities. Nashville business and city leaders held a press conference Tuesday to unveil the data and urge state legislators to make Tennessee a welcoming place for immigrants.
“First of all, immigrants fill workforce gaps in the economy that are important to maintaining our ongoing prosperity, said Ralph Schulz, CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “We have immigrants in small businesses, in large businesses, a wide range of industries.”
The study comes at a time of intense debate about immigration reform in the U.S. as President Donald Trump cracks down on undocumented immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday issued a sweeping set of orders that implement Trump’s plan to increase immigration enforcement. The memos instruct all agents to identify, capture and quickly deport every undocumented immigrant they encounter.
In Nashville last week, hundreds of workers and students skipped work and school to participate in the nationwide “Day Without Immigrants” protest to demonstrate the widespread economic and social impact of immigrants in the U.S.
Read the full story from The Tennessean: “Study: Immigrants vital to Tennessee economy”