GRAPEVINE, TX – New data from New American Economy (NAE) shows that immigrants make up nearly 30 percent of North Texas’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers. The report, which looks at immigrant contributions to the North Texas workforce, tax base, and major industries, was released at To The Point: The Economic Impact of Immigration, hosted by the North Texas Commission (NTC) and NAE. At this conference, NAE Executive Director Jeremy Robbins moderated a panel featuring Jim Baron, CEO of Blue Mesa Grill, Juan Carlos Cerda, Outreach Manager of Texas Business Immigration Coalition, Laura Collins, Director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, and Francisco Hernandez, a Fort Worth-based immigration attorney.
NAE’s latest analysis shows that immigrants in North Texas contributed billions in taxes in 2017, including $7.3 billion in federal taxes and $3.2 billion in state and local taxes. The foreign-born also play an essential role in bolstering the North Texas workforce. Though foreign-born residents in North Texas made up 18.7 percent of the metro’s overall population, they represented nearly a quarter — 24.4 percent — of its working-age population. Immigrants in North Texas also help fill labor shortages and support key industries. In 2017, North Texas immigrants made up nearly 49 percent of construction workers, 29.4 percent of tourism, hospitality, and recreation workers, and 29.4 percent of manufacturing workers.
Key findings include:
- Immigrants help fill workforce gaps. In 2017, 85.6 percent of the immigrant population in North Texas were of working age, in contrast to 61.1 percent of the U.S.-born population, helping to fill employment gaps across industries..
- Immigrant entrepreneurs help drive business growth. In 2017, North Texas was home to 102,884 immigrant entrepreneurs with a total business income of $2.9 billion.
- DACA-eligible immigrants make significant contributions to the economy. North Texas is home to more than 92,000 DACA-eligible immigrants who paid nearly $200 million in taxes in 2017.
“It is long past time for us to fix our country’s broken immigration system,” said Chris Wallace, President and CEO of the North Texas Commission. “This research is a great resource for us to use to become more outspoken on how our region depends on immigrant workers in many key industries. We must ensure certainly to these workers as they are valuable to our economy and local communities.”
“This new report details how critical immigrants are to the North Texas economy and emphasizes the need for common sense federal immigration reform,” said Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director of New American Economy. “The findings also illustrate why it’s in the interest of local government and other community partners to provide immigrants with tangible ways to integrate into their communities.”
The report is based on NAE’s analysis of microdata from the 2017 American Community Survey. See the full report, Demographic and Economic Contributions of Immigrants in North Texas, here.