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Monday, June 30, 2008

NM Voices for Children Releases Report on Immigrants and Economy

ImmigrantsWhen we consider a controversial issue like immigration, it helps to have the facts in hand. The more controversial an issue becomes, the more likely it is that unsubstantiated myths and muddled, distorted logic become part of the dialogue. New Mexico Voices for Children cuts through the often negative propaganda about immigrants with a just-released a report entitled, "Immigrants and the New Mexico Economy: Working Hard for Low Wages," which documents the positive impact of immigrants on the state's economy:

The current debate over immigration – and particularly over immigrants without legal residency status – often centers on whether or not this group of people contributes to the economy or diminishes it. A 2006 Fiscal Policy Project report, “Undocumented Immigrants in New Mexico: State Tax Contributions and Fiscal Concerns,” concluded that undocumented immigrants contribute more in state and local sales, income and property taxes than the state spends to educate their children.

“Immigrants and the New Mexico Economy: Working Hard for Low Wages” concludes that immigrants make a very significant contribution to the New Mexico economy while at the same time they have a very small impact on national safety-net programs.

The report's major findings include:

New Mexico’s foreign-born population – regardless of their legal status – contributes to the state economy through their high participation levels in the work force.

Because foreign-born workers skew toward low-wage occupations, they tend to have lower earnings as a group.

It is very clear that immigrants do not constitute a drain on the economy through transfer payments such as Social Security and Medicare benefits.

While undocumented immigrants are ineligible to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits, many of them pay into the trust funds that support these programs through the payroll taxes that are deducted from their paychecks.

You can download an executive summary of the report here (pdf) and the entire report here (pdf).

New Mexico Voices for Children is a progressive, non-partisan organization that advocates to improve the health and well-being of children, families and communities in New Mexico. Our work to eliminate child poverty is focused by four core values: economic justice, healthy communities, citizen participation and human rights. To donate or sign up for action alerts, visit the organization's website.

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June 30, 2008 at 10:43 AM in Economy, Populism, Immigration, Labor | Permalink


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