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Study Shows How Immigrants Help North Texas Economy

Associated Press
A construction crew works on an already sold new home in North Dallas

A new study shows immigrants have a big impact on the North Texas economy. The group New American Economy says it wants to use this new data to show how immigrants are helping cities thrive.

According to the study, more than 1.3 million immigrants live in North Texas – and about a quarter of them are working age. The bipartisan advocacy group says immigrants work in five key industries: construction, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, administrative support, and general services.

Jeremy Robbins, the group’s executive director, says the economic impact is enormous.

"They pay more $10 billion — 10 billion with a B — in state, local and federal taxes just in the North Texas region," Robbins said. "And it means they have more than $30 billion in spending power that they’re injecting back into the economy."

Robbins says the immigration debate has become too politicized. Some people accuse immigrants of being criminals or that they are taking away jobs from people born in the U.S., while others say they want to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Robbins wants to show that immigrants are vital to the local economy — and that includes undocumented immigrants.

The report finds that more than 575,000 undocumented immigrants live in North Texas. Nearly 90 percent of them have jobs.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.