Immigrants: A $232 Billion Boost to Local Economy

By City News Service

Immigrants contribute significantly to the economies of the city and county of Los Angeles, according to a study released Feb. 8.

The report from the New American Economy, which is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who support immigration reform, says immigrants contributed $232 billion to the county’s gross domestic product in 2014, or 35.7 percent.

The report also states that 53.6 percent of the city’s self-employed workers were immigrants who paid $6.9 billion in federal taxes and $3.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2014.

“It tells us in certain terms what we already knew, what we can see
walking through every day here in Los Angeles,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

“This is who we are. This is what our values are. This is what we are about.
We recognize immigrants as a source of strength, as a source of protection, and
as a source of prosperity.”

Garcetti made the comments at a news conference at City Hall, and while he did not directly mention President Donald Trump or his administration’s immigration policies, Councilman Gil Cedillo was more direct.

“We are living in a novel. Every three hours or so, it seems some new alternative fact is uttered,” Cedillo said, referring to the phrase used by presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway.

Cedillo added, “It is important for us to be fact-based. There are no alternative facts, only facts.”

Cedillo also said the study “tells you that (immigrants) are not murderers and rapists, that they are in fact the best and the brightest,” referring to Trump’s June 2015 statement that Mexico sends murderers and rapists to the United States and not “their best.”

The study also found that immigrants made up 37.8 percent of the population — and 46.7 percent of the employed labor force — in Los Angeles in 2014.

The study’s figures includes immigrants in the country illegally but does not separate them from immigrants in the country legally. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that Los Angeles County has roughly 1,060,000 residents who are in the country illegally.

“From entertainment to innovation to education and small business, our economy is stronger and our communities are better because immigrants are a part of them,” said Gary Toebben, president and CEO of the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Today, we are grateful to NAE for working with us to assemble this informative, insightful report that highlights key data for L.A. and serves as a valuable resource in addressing the economic impact of L.A. area immigrants,” Toebben said.

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February 13, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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