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New Report Shows More Than 30 Percent of San Antonio’s Business Owners Are Immigrants

Immigrants comprise 13.5 percent of the city’s population and support key industries like manufacturing, construction, and STEM

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Immigrant households earned nearly $4.6 billion in 2017 and contributed more than $1 billion in taxes, according to a new research brief released by New American Economy (NAE) in partnership with the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. The report will be released at a public event at Launch SA on May 7, 2019 featuring remarks by San Antonio Chamber President & CEO Richard Perez; Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez; San Antonio City Councilwoman Ana Sandoval; Dr. Lloyd Potter, Interim Dean of the College of Public Policy at University of Texas at San Antonio; Lisa Marie Gomez, Vice President for Education and Workforce Development at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce; Tino Gallegos, Immigration Liaison for the San Antonio Mayor’s Office; Daniel Valdez, Network Director at Welcoming America; and Kate Brick, Director of State and Local initiatives at New American Economy.

In addition to their financial contributions, including $531.7 million to Social Security and $134.5 million to Medicare in 2017, the report shows how critical immigrants are to San Antonio’s workforce. Immigrants make up a significant portion of several of the area’s most important industries, including 19 percent of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers and nearly 23 percent of manufacturing and 35 percent of construction workers. Immigrants are creating jobs in San Antonio too — they account for 30 percent of all entrepreneurs in the city. The more than 17,000 immigrant entrepreneurs who call San Antonio home generated close to $360.7 million in business income in 2017.

The report was released as the City of San Antonio and the Chamber of Commerce bring together leaders across sectors to develop a strategic plan to ensure that San Antonio welcomes and harnesses the potential of all residents. San Antonio was one of 14 communities selected nationally for the 2019 Gateways for Growth award to receive research from NAE and technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to support this work.

“Immigrants’ contributions to our economic strength is part of the American success story, and San Antonio is a significant beneficiary of their economic power,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “This report demonstrates exactly how important immigrants’ contributions are to our city’s economy, particularly in STEM fields, manufacturing, construction and entrepreneurship.”

”Our immigrant community has always been a part of San Antonio’s economic prosperity.  It’s clear from the study that immigrants are directly contributing to our workforce and innovation in critical research.  The Chamber has been a long-standing champion of comprehensive immigration reform, because we understand that providing opportunities for every member of our community to fully contribute is essential for sustained economic growth,” said Chamber CEO Richard Perez.   

“While Washington continues to take backward steps on immigration, San Antonio knows firsthand the economic benefits of embracing it,” said Kate Brick, Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “This research underscores the value of a diverse community for a vibrant and competitive local economy, and supports San Antonio’s efforts to join other Texas cities in creating local policies that are inclusive, stimulate growth, and attract talent from across the globe.”

Read the full research brief here.

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…