Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Immigration in the Super Tuesday States

January 30, 2008

Immigration Policy Center


The impact of Latinos and immigrants in the voting booths and on state coffers will get increased attention as "Super Tuesday" approaches. Poll after poll shows that a candidate's stand on immigration and the tone of the immigration debate are important to Latinos. Florida's Republican primary is a perfect example. The winner, Sen. John McCain, supports immigration reform; his major opponent, Gov. Mitt Romney, supports deportation-only policies. McCain easily won in Florida, and election analysts credit Latinos with the win. The Arizona senator got 54% of the Republican Latino vote; Romney got only 14%. All year, many candidates have tried to win elections by taking anti-immigration positions. And all year, they have lost.

Beyond the voting booth, there are vigorous arguments over whether immigrants cost or contribute. Restrictionists argue that immigrants are bad for the state economy, but the facts prove otherwise. Study after study documents the economic contributions of immigrants in "Super Tuesday" states. A recent report from the Americas Majority Foundation shows that states with large immigrant populations have stronger economic health.

Latinos Can Have a Big Impact in States with Small Margins: According to NALEO, Latinos constitute 14.2 % of the electorate in Arizona, 17.3 % in California, 5.3 % in Illinois, 8.1 % in New Jersey, 33.8 % in New Mexico, and 8.7 % in New York.

Bigger and Bigger Buying Power: "Super Tuesday" states, California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Georgia are eight of the top ten states in terms of Hispanic buying power. Arkansas ranks number one in growth in Hispanic buying power, followed closely by Tennessee, Georgia, and Minnesota. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 734,227 Asian-owned businesses and 851,250 Hispanic-owned businesses in the 24 "Super Tuesday" states.

Healthy States and Immigration Rates: A 2008 study by the conservative Americas Majority Foundation found that the 10 states with the highest percentage of immigrants, including "Super Tuesday" states, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, experienced the highest Growth State Product. The study found that a large immigrant population and recent increases in immigrant population are associated with elevated levels and growth rates in gross state product, personal income, per capita personal income, disposable income, per capita disposable income, median household income, and median per capita income.

Economic Impact Assessed: Below is a snapshot of some of the recent research on the impact of immigrants in a handful of "Super Tuesday" states.

Arizona: A 2007 study by the University of Arizona's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy concluded that "the total state tax revenue attributable to immigrant workers was an estimated $2.4 billion-even balanced against estimated fiscal costs the net 2004 fiscal impact of immigrants in Arizona was positive by about $940 million."

Arkansas: A 2007 study by the Urban Institute found that "...without immigrant labor, the output of the state's manufacturing industry would likely be lowered by about $1.4 billion-or about 8 percent of the industry's $16.2 billion total contribution to the gross state product in 2004."

New York: A 2007 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute concludes that New York's immigrants are responsible for $229 billion in economic output in New York State or 22.4 percent of the total New York State GDP.

Georgia: A 2006 study by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute estimated that an average undocumented family in Georgia contributes between $2,340 and $2,470 in state and local sales, income, and property taxes combined.

Contact: Tim Vettel
202-742-5608 (ofc), 202-281-0780 (cell)

Immigration Policy Center | 918 F Street, NW | Washington | DC | 20004

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