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Bloggings: Benefited Not Burdened -- Immigrants’ Impact on the DC-VA-MD Area, by Danielle Beach-Oswald

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Immigrant-rights


Immigrants, both authorized and unauthorized, contribute
greatly to the economies of the District
of Columbia
, Virginia,
and Maryland.
With close to 1.8 million immigrants in the DC-VA-MD[1] area,
immigrants are helping to revitalize the economy through entrepreneurship,
consumer spending, and by contributing to the tax base.


Economic activity, consumer spending, and job creation are
extremely important as the nation recovers from the economic crisis. The
DC-VA-MD area is on a path to recovery, due in large part to the immigrant
population and their economic activity. It is not just authorized immigrants
who are leading the economy's revitalization, but also unauthorized immigrants
are playing a significant role. If unauthorized immigrants were removed from
the DC-VA-MD area, the area would lose $27.6 billion in economic activity,
$12.3 billion in gross state product, and 141,585 jobs. Immigrants also
contribute greatly to the area's tax base. In the Washington, DC
metropolitan area alone, immigrants contributed $9.8 billion in taxes in 2000.
And in Maryland,
immigrants contributed $4.0 billion in federal, state, and local taxes in 2000.
And with an ever increasing immigrant population, taxes paid by immigrants will
continue to rise. Due to the immigrant population and their activities in the
DC-VA-MD area, the area has been greatly benefited and it will continue to
benefit from the presence of immigrants if permitted.


Furthermore, immigrants who call the District, Virginia, and Maryland
home are well educated and highly skilled. Accordingly, immigrants greatly
benefit the area's economy and they are helping contribute to the economy's
revitalization. In the District, 51.5% of foreign born naturalized citizens and
47.2% of noncitizens hold a bachelor's or higher degree, which is only slightly
less than Census Bureau's 2011
estimates
for the whole of the District, at 52.5%. Thus, immigrants
residing in the District are just as educated as non-immigrants and are
therefore they are able to significantly contribute to the District's tax base
and economic activity.


In Maryland and Virginia, the rate of immigrants who hold Bachelor's
or higher degrees is significantly higher than the estimates for the whole of
these two states. Immigrants here are more educated that the domestic born
population. In Virginia, 40.7% of all immigrants
have a bachelor's or higher degree, while only a little more than one third of Virginia's entire
population has a bachelor's or higher degree. Thus, immigrants make up 16.6% of
all bachelor's or higher degrees held in Virginia.
 Similarly, 40.3% of all immigrants in Maryland have a
bachelor's or higher degree, while the state rate of bachelor's or higher
degree is 36.9%. Therefore, almost one fifth of all bachelor's or higher
degrees in Maryland
are held by immigrants. While statistically, the DC-VA-MD area has a higher
rate of bachelor's or higher degrees compared to the national
average
, which only hit 30% this year, immigrants contribute greatly to
this higher than average rate. And with such a significant percentage of
immigrants holding Bachelor's or higher degrees, these states' economies can't
help but be benefitted.


With a highly educated immigrant work force, immigrants are
playing an important role in areas that greatly impact society and the economy.
In Maryland,
the sciences and healthcare are greatly benefitted by the local immigrant
population. A 2006 study
found that over one-quarter of all scientists, that over one-fifth of all
healthcare providers, and that one-fifth of mathematicians and computer
specialists working in Maryland are foreign born. Thus, the District, Virginia, and Maryland
can ill afford to lose their immigrants as they play a vital role in
maintaining a stable economy in the area.


Additionally, the DC-VA-MD area has one of the largest
immigrant communities in the country; only California, the Tri-State area,
Texas, Hawaii, and Florida have larger immigrant populations. Immigrants in the
DC-VA-MD area do not only benefit the area's economy, but also they greatly
influence politics and government affairs. Many of the immigrants in the
DC-VA-MD area are naturalized U.S.
citizens. While only a third of the immigrants living in the District have
become naturalized U.S.
citizens, nearly half of all immigrants in Virginia
and Maryland
have obtained this status. As naturalized U.S. citizens, these immigrants
have obtained the right to vote. Thus, many immigrants in the District, Virginia, and Maryland
are helping influence and shape the area's and the nation's political
landscape. And as seen in the last election,
naturalized U.S.
citizens are overwhelmingly using their right to vote now, more than ever
before.


All immigrants, both authorized and unauthorized, are
extremely important to the DC-VA-MD area. They are playing a role in revitalizing
the economy, they are greatly contributing to the tax base and they are helping
shape the nation's politics. With a highly educated and skilled immigrant
population, DC-VA-MD immigrants will only continue to see success as they help
boost the area's economy and make breakthroughs in their chosen fields. And
with the number of immigrants residing in the DC-VA-MD area that are eligible
to vote, immigrants are also shaping the political community and influencing
political change. The DC-VA-MD area needs immigrants to remain a strong,
economically vibrant, and racially diverse community.








[1]
Immigrants in the District make up 13.5% of the population, or 83,599 people.
In Maryland,
13.9% of the population is part of the immigrant population, or 811,701 people.
And in Virginia,
immigrants make up 11.1% of the population, or 900,243 people.



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