Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month: Multiple Contributions across Multiple Sectors
June is Immigrant Heritage Month, thus, it is very appropriate to celebrate the many contributions of immigrants to the country’s prosperity. Throughout this month, immigrant stories or narratives have been posted on #imanimmigrant, Facebook, and other social media outlets. These are inspiring accounts of women and men from different countries establishing themselves as entrepreneurs, service and agricultural workers, and college graduates with professional positions in different industries.
In this newsletter, we provide a few noteworthy facts about immigrants, both authorized and unauthorized, as well as trends about future immigrant growth.
Among the headlines for entrepreneurship from a 2014 report we have 
- The highest rates are for immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa followed by Latinx, Asians and U.S. workers.
- Immigrants were 20.6% of all entrepreneurs although they were only 13.2% of the overall U.S. population.
- These entrepreneurs generated $65.5 billion in business income.
- As the country recovered from the Great Recession, immigrant entrepreneurs established 44.6% of new businesses in California and 42% in the state of New York.
Immigrants and education facts 
- Foreign-born college graduates are increasing at a faster rate than the U.S. born; more than twice the rate.
- The areas of study most often pursued include high-tech, science or engineering.
- Today’s new immigrant arrivals, age 25 and older, are more educated than ever before.
States with the highest share of immigrants
These data have implications for K-16 education, hiring opportunities, and the creation of an increasing workforce in these states :
- New York
- New Jersey
Racial/ethnic trends in immigration
- Asians are projected to become the largest immigrant group, surpassing Hispanics by 2055  – in real numbers, the Asian immigrant population in 2014 was 12,750,000  and projections estimate a 10% increase by 2055.
- The percent of immigrants who identify as White has been declining since 1965 while immigrants who identify as Asian, Hispanic, and Black have steadily increased .
Unauthorized immigrants-economic contributions
We also know that unauthorized immigrants continue to contribute to many industries that are essential to the country’s economic engine. Industries with the highest share of unauthorized immigrants (2012) were :
- Agriculture (16%)
- Construction (12%)
- Leisure & hospitality (9%)
- Professional, business, & other services (7%)
- Manufacturing (6%)
- Civilian labor force (5.1%)
Moreover, undocumented immigrants contribute $11.6 billion to the economy each year. From an economic standpoint, undocumented immigrants are productive members of society who pay a higher effective tax rate than the wealthiest 1% .
I come from a family of Mexican immigrants who worked in the steel industry in the Midwest. Like most immigrants, my parent’s goal was for our educational success leading to better lives. Their example of hard work, endurance, and promotion of higher education paid off for their children and now their grandchildren. Immigrant prosperity contributes to U.S. prosperity.
Would you agree?
- New American Economy. (2016). Reason for Reform: Entrepreneurship. Retrieved from http://www.newamericaneconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Entrepreneur.pdf
- Zong, J. & Batalova, J. (2016). College-educated immigrants in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/college-educated-immigrants-united-states
- Manual Krogstad, J. & Keegan, M. (2014). 15 states with the highest share of immigrants in their population. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/05/14/15-states-with-the-highest-share-of-immigrants-in-their-population/
- Pew Research Center. (2015). Modern immigration wave brings 59 million to U.S., driving population growth and change through 2065. Retrieved from http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/28/modern-immigration-wave-brings-59-million-to-u-s-driving-population-growth-and-change-through-2065/
- Zong, J. & Batalova, J. (2016). Asian immigrants in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/asian-immigrants-united-states
- Passel, J. S., & D’Vera, C. (2015). Chapter 1: Occupations of unauthorized immigrant workers. Retrieved from http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/03/26/chapter-1-occupations-of-unauthorized-immigrant-workers/
- Gee, L. C., Gardner, M., & Wiehe, M. (2016). Undocumented immigrants’ state and local tax contributions. Retrieved from https://itep.org/undocumented-immigrants-state-local-tax-contributions-1/#.VuLeIJwrLIW