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Michigan Business and Industry Leaders Launch Michigan Compact on Immigration and Call for Reform

New research from New American Economy finds that immigrants contribute $2.1 billion in state and local taxes and hold $18.4 billion in spending power

Lansing, Michigan — Today, a coalition of business and industry leaders came together at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce to launch the Michigan Compact on Immigration, a set of key principles outlining the need for smart immigration policies at the federal and state levels that recognize the critical role immigrants play in helping drive Michigan’s economy forward. The Compact, whose signatories represent more than 20,000 companies and more than one million employees calls for a federal immigration system that responds to the needs of Michigan employers and workers in a time when talent attraction and retention is critical to the state’s economic growth. 

Read the Compact and its full list of signatories here.

The Michigan Compact on Immigration comes as new data from New American Economy’s (NAE) Map the Impact shows just how much value immigrants add to Michigan’s economy. In 2018, immigrants held $18.4 billion in spending power and paid $2.1 billion in state and local taxes. They are essential players in some of the state’s most important industries, from STEM to healthcare. While just seven percent of the state’s population, immigrants make up more than 17 percent of STEM workers, a critical role considering Michigan faces significant workforce shortages in STEM jobs. As of 2015, there were 19 open STEM jobs for every one unemployed STEM worker. Immigrants also make up 28 percent of physicians in the state. As job creators, immigrant-founded businesses generated over $27.3 billion in sales and employed over 167,000 Michiganders in 2016.

“We are a proud co-signer of the Michigan Compact on Immigration,” said Wendy Block Vice President of Business Advocacy and Member Engagement for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.“The Michigan Chamber supports reforming our nation’s immigration policy because it is critical to attracting the talent and business our state and nation needs to continue to grow.”

“Michigan’s population growth over the past two decades has been completely attributed to immigration,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “Our newest residents have helped strengthen our talent base, but we need to accelerate our growth. The states that embrace and welcome new citizens will grow the fastest and have the economic strength to provide critical shared services for all: a well-funded education system and modernized infrastructure. Our state’s largest employers are stepping forward to say: ‘You’re welcome here. Help us grow.’”

“SBAM supports the Michigan Compact on Immigration because immigration policy plays a critical role in talent attraction and retention in Michigan,” said Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “To keep our economy growing, we must have the brightest and best talent and that includes immigrants, who already play a significant role in our local and state economies. Bipartisan immigration policy reforms will help us maintain and build an environment of success for small businesses.”

“The Midland Business Alliance is pleased to sign onto the Michigan Compact on Immigration. We understand how essential this discussion is, whether it’s a Fortune 500 company or a small business. We support a thoughtful dialogue that will help us to achieve needed policy on legal immigration,” said Tony Stamas, President & CEO of the Midland Business Alliance.

“As the automotive industry flourished in Flint more than a century ago, immigrants were crucial to building and maintaining that success,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “Today, international talent remains a vital part of our engine for economic growth. That’s why we strongly endorse the Michigan Compact on Immigration.”

“The Grand Rapids Chamber is proud to support the launch of the Compact. In order to grow and compete, we need a strong workforce, and for that we need people. The time for immigration reform is now, and Michigan’s future economy depends on its very outcome,” said Rick Baker, President & CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber.

“The Grand Traverse Region has its focus on attracting high-growth businesses, growing family-sustaining jobs and careers, and becoming a talent destination. It is critical for this growth and prosperity that we create a more welcoming community for diverse populations. Our region competes with cities across the country for talent, and the data is clear that attracting new citizens is an important competitive advantage for Michigan,” said Warren Call, President & CEO, Traverse Connect.

“Our organization is proud to sign on to the Michigan Compact on Immigration with so many business organizations throughout our state,” said Tim Daman president & CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Immigration plays a critical role in driving continued economic growth and job creation for our state and region.”

“The restaurant and lodging industries have long been the catalyst for talented, hard-working entrepreneurs from around the world to gain experience, open a business and realize the American dream. In turn, immigration helps restaurants and hotels meet workforce demands that are dramatically outpacing our domestic supply. Our ability to survive, let alone thrive into the future depends on commonsense federal immigration reform soon,” said Justin Winslow, President & CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association.  

“The Michigan Compact shows the diverse business community across the state agrees that common-sense immigration reform is necessary for Michigan’s future success,” said Kate Brick, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “From agriculture to tech to healthcare, immigrants play an integral role in revitalizing and growing Michigan’s economy.”

About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to educate, empower and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform. NAE has created a coalition of civic, business, and cultural leaders who span the political spectrum and represent all 50 states. NAE makes the case for smart immigration reform in four ways: 1) we use powerful research to demonstrate how immigration impacts our economy, 2) we organize champions at the grassroots and influencer levels to build support for immigration, 3) we partner with state and local leaders to advocate for policies that recognize the value immigrants add locally, and 4) we show immigrant contributions to American culture through film, food, art, sports, comedy, and more. Visit  to learn more.

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…