Immigration Reform Would Have a Positive Impact on New Jersey

Contact: Jon Whiten, NJPP, or 609-393-1145 ext. 15

Immigration Reform Would Have a Positive Impact on New Jersey
New Report Details Economic and Social Benefits of Senate Legislation

Federal immigration reform being considered by Congress would greatly help New Jersey’s immigrant families while creating thousands of new jobs and boosting the state’s economy, according to a new report released today by New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP).

As the U.S. House of Representatives gears up to tackle immigration reform, NJPP’s report examined the immigration reform bill passed last year by the U.S. Senate and found that it would pay dividends for years to come by reforming the visa process and making sure that all immigrants have a chance to participate fully in the state’s economy.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, one of the key authors of the Senate bill and a strong proponent for immigration reform, joined representatives from NJPP on a conference call today.

“This important examination by New Jersey Policy Perspective confirms what I have been saying all along,” said Sen. Menendez, “that there aren’t many bills before Congress that can simultaneously increase revenue and GDP, create jobs and lower the deficit. The report finds that immigration reform will provide a huge economic boost to New Jersey, generating $377 million annually to the Garden State economy and $81 million per year in state and local taxes, with projected annual state revenues soaring to $1.3 billion by 2020. That is why the House must not delay immigration reform.”

The Senate’s immigration bill would boost New Jersey’s economy in four key ways, according to the report:

• Expanding the number of highly paid, high-skilled visa holders working in New Jersey.
• Encouraging more New Jersey immigrants to become entrepreneurs and start small businesses.
• Bringing more immigrants out of the economic shadows by ensuring they are working here legally and paying taxes.
• Providing better job opportunities and creating a larger window to enter the middle class.

“The Senate bill is hardly perfect, but it would enable New Jersey to strengthen its place as a gateway for immigrants and bring hundreds of thousands of undocumented New Jerseyans out of the shadows to participate fully and openly in the economic life of the state,” said NJPP president Gordon MacInnes.

Also on today’s call was Robert Prunetti, the president and CEO of the MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce, who stressed the importance of immigration reform to his members and to the state’s economy.

“Reforming our immigration laws will increase economic activity and provide our companies with new business opportunities,” Prunetti said.

Any effort to comprehensively reform the United States’ broken immigration system would have a disproportionate impact on New Jersey. After all, New Jersey – home to Ellis Island – remains an important port of entry for a diverse group of immigrants from all over the world. It has the third-highest percentage of foreign-born residents of all the states and one of the largest undocumented immigrant populations.

“New Jersey’s immigrant population and undocumented community has a huge stake in federal immigration reform,” says NJPP policy analyst and report author Erika Nava. “This legislation would expand the job market to those who were previously marginalized in mostly low-wage service-oriented work, and create jobs by allowing more people to participate in the state’s economy.”