Undocumented Workers’ Big Role in New Jersey’s Economy

New Jersey’s economy would suffer a substantial blow if all of the United States’ 11.3 million undocumented immigrants – more than 7 million of whom are working – were removed from the country, according to a Fast Facts analysis released today by New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP).

In fact, the loss to New Jersey’s Gross Domestic Product of 4.9 percent is the largest loss of any of the 50 states, topping immigrant-heavy states like California (4.7 percent loss), Texas (3.9 percent loss) and New York (3 percent loss).

New Jersey is in no financial position to welcome a shift in federal policies and actions that would accelerate the deportation of our working undocumented residents,” said Gordon MacInnes, President of NJPP. “In fact, no state would suffer more from such an abrupt change in federal action.”

The forced removal of these striving immigrants would cause New Jersey to lose $25.9 billion in annual economic activity. While this is not the largest dollar loss of any state (California tops the list at $103 billion), it is the largest when taken in context of the size of a state’s economy.

“This data shows what we have been saying all along: the myth that immigrants are taking from and rather than contributing to our economy is not only wrong but problematic,” said Johanna Calle, Program Coordinator of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “New Jersey is an immigrant state, like California, Texas, and New York. We should embrace this fact and push forward with policies that promote inclusion and acceptance of our immigrant residents.”

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