Today, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center joined a nationwide virtual march, releasing infographics throughout the day highlighting the economic impact of new Americans in the state. The Chamber’s online effort marks the launch of the iMarch for Immigration Campaign, a national day of action with online and offline events in all 50 states. In Kentucky, the group is calling on the state’s Congressional delegation to take action protecting DREAMers as a first step to addressing the longstanding economic hurdles that reside within our outdated immigration system.
“As part of our federal priorities for many years, the Kentucky Chamber encourages Congress to pursue immigration reform, including a path for legal status for the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States, allowing them to emerge from the shadows and create a stable workforce,” said Kentucky Chamber Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Ashli Watts. “In light of the administration’s decision regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Kentucky Chamber urges the administration and Congress to find a legislative solution to this issue, which is soon set to expire.”
The iMarch campaign includes a nationwide virtual march for immigration reform, and has the backing of numerous leaders in the business, agriculture, education, tech, and faith sectors, state and local elected officials, and top voices from both sides of the political spectrum. The campaign is launching as Congress negotiates a much-needed solution for DACA recipients.
You can view iMarch activity online at iMarch.us, which will be updated throughout the day with highlights from industries and perspectives across the country.
As part of the effort, NAE’s comprehensive data on immigrants in Kentucky’s economy and the effect of the DACA-eligible population in the state were cited as key reasons for Congress to take action. In Kentucky alone, the positive economic impact of DACA-eligible recipients can be easily seen:
● There are as many as 5,459 DACA-eligible recipients in the state
● Despite the rhetoric claiming undocumented youths are a drain on the Kentucky economy, 90.5 percent of the DACA-eligible population who are at least 16 years old are employed
● Kentucky’s DACA-eligible population earns almost $70.4 million in total income annually.
● Kentucky’s DACA-eligible population contributes more than $10 million in total taxes annually, $6.1 million of which goes to state and local tax revenue.
At large, immigrants have substantial impact on the local economy:
• In Kentucky, nearly 152,000 residents are immigrants
• Over 10,600 immigrants are entrepreneurs, employing more than 35,000 at the immigrant-owned firms in the state
• In 2016, Kentucky immigrants held $2.7 billion in spending power
• Immigrants in Kentucky pay $969 million in taxes every year
For more information on the iMarch Campaign, visit iMarch.us.