Local leaders call for immigration reform in National Day of Action with events across all 50 states

Philadelphia region business, civic, and community leaders came together for a Day of Action to showcase new research on immigrant contributions in Pennsylvania and to highlight the critical need for immigration reform. The event marked the launch of the Reason for Reform campaign, a national effort taking place in all 50 states today, sponsored by the Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE).

“The Chamber strongly believes that immigrants serve as an important source for entrepreneurial activity and skilled workforce,” said Rob Wonderling, President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. “Supporting immigrant population growth and accelerating immigrant integration will continue to attract and retain successful business owners and workers from around the globe to Greater Philadelphia, further strengthening our region’s diverse and vibrant economy. We strongly urge our elected leaders to enact policies and reforms that will support immigration as a critical piece to innovation, company formation, and job growth in our economy.”

The Reason for Reform campaign brings together state business, civic, and cultural leaders to urge Congress to take action on immigration reform. Today’s Philadelphia event coincides with the release of a new report on immigrant contributions in Pennsylvania. The research includes data on the foreign-born population in the state, including tax contributions, spending power, and their role in Pennsylvania’s key industries as leaders and job creators.

“Region’s that lead in the 21st Century must intentionally attract diverse people,” said Peter Gonzales, President and CEO, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. “Becoming a more welcoming place for immigrants provides our region with a competitive leg up on the competition.”

The Contributions of New Americans in Pennsylvania shows that immigrants make up 6.4 percent of the state’s population and contributed more than $7.1 billion in taxes in 2014. That same year, their total income was $25.8 billion, or 7.2 percent of all earnings in the state.

“This report is encouraging and supportive of research already underway within the Commonwealth,” said Pennsylvania Department of State Secretary Pedro A. Cortés. “New Pennsylvanians have contributed greatly to the communities and quality of life in Pennsylvania. I look forward to continuing this work through the partnership with NAE and other organizations, with an eye toward economic, civic, and workforce growth.”

Immigrants in Pennsylvania contribute to key industries, such as crop production, computer systems design and services, motor vehicles, and pharmaceuticals and medicines. They make up slightly more than 10 percent of all entrepreneurs in the state and play a large role in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, a major component of U.S. economic growth. These and other key statistics on immigrants in Pennsylvania can be found in NAE’s report here.

The Reason for Reform campaign is launching in all 50 states today to urge Congress to take action on immigration reform. More information can be found at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.