With comprehensive immigration reform stalled at the national level, North Carolina needs to step up with commonsense public policies that strengthen our communities rather than divide them.
The White House is attacking legal immigrants through draconian changes to policies on visas, family immigration, and government benefits. Deporting every undocumented person in the United States is not only morally dubious, but is also impractical and would be economically ruinous. Even in spite of cruel barriers to full integration, immigrants strengthen North Carolina in a host of ways:
- In North Carolina, immigrants and refugees are our neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and family members.
- Immigrants and refugees operate roughly 20 percent of the state’s Main Street Businesses
- They account for 80 percent of the net new Main Street Businesses opened between 2000 and 2013
- Helping communities that have significant immigrant populations to deliver better wages, lower unemployment, and lower levels of poverty than communities with few immigrants.
- Bringing jobs and businesses to struggling neighborhoods, thereby leading in the economic revitalization in many communities
- Lessening or reversing population declines in many rural parts of the state, thereby helping to breath new economic and social life into many struggling communities
- Bringing sorely needed skills, talents, and hard work to North Carolina’s labor market
- Enriching the cultural fabric of the state