Report: Massachusetts Ranks Fourth in Benefiting from Immigrants
It cites immigrant-owned businesses, income, international students, and jobs.
Immigrants are making Massachusetts great, according to a new study of the contributions of foreign-born residents to American states.
The report, from the website WalletHub, analyzed factors including the number of immigrant-owned businesses and immigrant-founded Fortune 500 companies, as well as median income for immigrants, and the share of international students in colleges. WalletHub regularly churns out financial studies and also hawks finance products.
It ranked Massachusetts fourth overall, giving it the number one slot for foreign students, ninth for immigrants’ “socioeconomic contributions,” and tenth for “innovation.”
It’s perhaps not surprising given the state’s storied colleges funneling international students into higher-paying jobs, not to mention an outwardly welcoming attitude toward immigration here.
Only New York, California, and New Jersey were said to have benefited more from immigrants. Mississippi ranked last.
It was probably no accident the study was published the same night as a State of the Union speech in which the president pointed to the harm he believes foreign-born residents are doing to the country—highlighting, specifically, violence committed by El Salvadoran gang MS-13 (even though immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crimes, as researchers at UMass Boston have found).
It also echoes the message local officials have tried to send to the federal government about the harm mass deportations and restrictionist policy would do to the state. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has tried to appeal to the Trump administration’s supposed business acumen, arguing in a February letter to Washington after Trump’s moves to limit immigration from Muslim-majority countries that “Those from abroad are not displacing American workers. They are growing the economic pie for all of us.”
Trump’s current wish list for immigration reform includes a system that favors high-skill workers but also a major reduction in legal immigration and an enhanced crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
The WalletHub study cites experts including Boston University’s Karen J. Pita Loor, an associate professor of law, who says that, especially long-term, studies have found immigration does not cause the economic harm that many imagine, regardless of skill level.
“Low-wage immigrants’ desire to work hard means that native-born can afford goods and services at a lower cost. A surge in immigration to a particular state does not end up displacing American workers, but instead often moving them to higher-paying managerial positions,” she’s quoted as saying. “The continued immigration of vibrant young workers has helped the United States ward off the consequences of an aging labor force combined with a decreasing birth rate. Regarding high-skilled immigrants, their contributions fuel innovation and business creation across fields, which strengthen the nation’s economic growth.”