The positive economic impact of expanding immigrant communities is being felt in interior states such as Iowa and Nevada, according to a new report released Thursday by the Hispanic Institute, a non-profit organization that provides an education forum to inform and empower Hispanic Americans.
The report, titled “A Tale of Two States: An Examination of the Impact of Immigration in Iowa and Nevada,” found immigrants in Iowa make up 5 percent of the overall population, but pay over 1 billion dollars in taxes and possess 3 billion dollars in spending power.
Iowa and Nevada were chosen because they were two states with “distinctly different economies and cultural histories” that “have begun to feel the impact of expanding immigrant communities.”
The report includes data taken from all types of immigrants including naturalized citizens, green card holders, undocumented immigrants, and DACA recipients.
Although President Donald Trump, a staunch opponent of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, won Iowa in the 2016 presidential election, a February poll conducted by the Des Moines Register revealed that 81 percent of Iowans believe pursuing a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients would be a worthy goal.
About 65 percent of Iowans supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as well.
“Nevada and Iowa have both benefited greatly from the contributions of immigrants,” said Gustavo Paredes, a member of The Hispanic Institute’s Board of Directors. “The residents recognize this much more than the politicians who represent them.”
The report also indicates that Nevada’s economy relies more heavily on immigrants than Iowa.
Immigrants in Nevada make up 20 percent of the state’s overall population, which is a 9 percent increase from 1990. In addition, 25 percent of self-employed are immigrants.
Mexico is the top country of origin for immigrants in both Iowa and Nevada, according to the American Immigration Council.
Mexican immigrants account for 29.3 percent of the entire immigrant population in Iowa and 39.5 percent in Nevada.
The report also contains a brief historical overview of U.S. immigration policy and statistics regarding the economic and demographic impacts of immigrants in the United States.
“Demagogues have been trying to whip up panics about immigrants since our country’s founding,” Gus West, president of The Hispanic Institute, said in a release on Thursday.
“But the facts show that immigration has been an unmitigated good for the U.S. economy: Our report is a primer on an issue that will dominate the public debate leading up to the 2020 presidential campaign.”