Report: Immigrants' contribution to SA economy is under-represented

Billions of dollars in income & spending power

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter, Bill Caldera - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - New American Economy, a bipartisan coalition of business leaders and mayors from across the U.S., chose San Antonio for its study of the economic impact of immigrants, including those who are undocumented.

Kate Brick, director of state and local initiatives, said the coalition is talking about immigrants in a different way, given the heated debate over the comprehensive immigration reform and issues on the border.

“We’re focusing primarily on why immigrants are so critical to the economic growth in the U.S.,” Brick said.

The report for the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce used U.S. Census data “almost exclusively,” she said.

“It’s what the government is collecting,” Brick said. “If anything, it’s really an under-representation on what the economic impact of immigrants is here in the city.”

Richard Perez, the chamber’s president and CEO, said its findings run counter to old stereotypes about immigrants.

“I think the report today clearly show that is a myth,” Perez said.

Although the undocumented contribute “significantly” to the economy, especially in construction and the hospitality industries, Brick said immigrants overall in San Antonio are employed in other occupations, including health care, biotech and advanced manufacturing.

Click here to read the report.

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