The Critical Role Undocumented Immigrants Play In Texas' Economy
New American Economy released new research in partnership with the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, which shows the critical role immigrants (only God knows how many are undocumented) play in the Dallas workforce.
“The report shows immigrants make up a quarter of the county's population but nearly a third of its working-age population,” explained Ken Malcolmson, North Dallas Chamber of Commerce’s President and CEO and my fellow signatory of the Texas Compact on Immigration. “As a member of Texans for Economic Growth, we urge our lawmakers to support common-sense federal immigration reforms that recognize the valuable contributions immigrants make to the state.”
In Dallas County, immigrants account for 65 percent of construction workers, 41.3 percent of manufacturing workers, and 40.5 percent of hospitality workers.
The report estimates that immigrants living in the county helped create or preserve 29,457 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved off U.S. soil by 2017.
This data echoes the research released by New American Economy and Center for Houston’s Future earlier this year, which examined the substantial fiscal and economic impacts of Houston's immigrants. It is impossible to know what percentage are documented.
“If all undocumented immigrants are deported from the region, Houston would lose $36 billion in GDP,” the report stated. “Looking forward, virtually no other region of the country will be affected by immigration more than Houston.”
Not only have undocumented immigrants helped to drive economic growth in Dallas, Houston, and the rest of our state, but they are crucial going forward. Labor shortages have consistently been identified as a substantial impediment to businesses in the construction, hospitality, and manufacturing industries.
Why don’t we create a method to bring these millions of undocumented workers out of the shadows and into our taxable, legal workforce?
The process must require undocumented workers to pass a criminal background check and agree to work only for employers that deduct and match taxes. It is only fair that we put them at the “back of the line” for citizenship.
Current US immigration laws actually encourage American employers to misclassify workers by calling them subcontractors, in order to avoid workers comp, overtime, and payroll taxes. This cheats workers out of benefits and wages and gives unscrupulous employers an unfair advantage against legitimate employers.
Creating a method for undocumented workers to earn their legal status would give employers the opportunity to hire badly-needed workers who have already completed years of "on-the-job-training" while working in the shadows.
This is a sensible and responsible solution that would benefit all workers, businesses, and our economy.
Please continue to contact your lawmakers and ask them to support sensible immigration policy.
God bless you, and may He continue to bless America.