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City of New Orleans and New American Economy Release Report Showing Economic Power of Immigrants in New Orleans

City releases report in conjunction with U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Cities’ Day

of Immigration Action

NEW ORLEANS – Today, the City of New Orleans joined think tank New American Economy (NAE) to release a report documenting the economic impact of immigrants in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Accounting for seven percent of the overall population, the foreign-born of New Orleans make an outsized contribution to the local economy through their high rates of entrepreneurship, large tax contributions, and spending power.

“New Orleans is proud to be a welcoming city because we know that diversity is a strength,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.  “This report underscores the invaluable contributions immigrants continue to make to our city and our economy.  I am proud to stand with mayors from across the country in calling for comprehensive immigration reform to help strengthen local economies and communities.”

The report, New Americans in Greater New Orleans, finds:

  • In 2014, foreign-born households contributed $7.6 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Greater New Orleans metro area.
  • In 2014, immigrants in Greater New Orleans paid $525 million in federal taxes and $196 million in state and local taxes. They also held $2 billion in remaining spending power.
  • Foreign-born residents of Greater New Orleans also support federal social programs. In 2014, they contributed more than $265 million to Social Security and almost $77 million to Medicare.
  • In 2014, immigrant-owned businesses in Greater New Orleans generated $174 million in business income.
  • Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, immigrants living in Greater New Orleans in 2014 helped create or preserve 4,285 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.
  • Foreign-born residents tend to have higher educational levels than U.S.-born citizens in the Greater New Orleans metro area. If the metro area retains one-half of its international students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees or higher, 458 local jobs will be created within six years, boosting the area’s real GDP by $114.6M within the next 30 years, and increasing its population by 3,668 people within the next 50 years.
  • In 2014, 92.8 percent of the foreign-born had been in Greater New Orleans for more than a year. In fact, 59,582 immigrants, or 64 percent of the metro area’s foreign-born population, have been in the country for more than 10 years.

Read the full report here.

“New Orleans serves as a great American city benefitting from the talent and hard work of immigrants,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “Immigrants not only help power local sectors like agriculture and construction, but also start businesses that create jobs both in the city and the state of Louisiana.”

Julie Ward, Director of Immigration and Refugee Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, said, “Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans has worked with newcomers to our community since its inception. As they have for centuries, immigrants to New Orleans come here with a desire to invest in and belong to this community. These newcomers consider New Orleans home, and work hard to contribute to it. Our citizenship program serves hundreds of people a year, and there is always a long waitlist of residents who are eagerly and proudly applying for citizenship as well as permanent residency in order to become new Americans. Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans believes that immigrants – both newcomers and those who came generations before – are a critical piece of our community and offer important contributions.  We consider it a measure of our success as a community when we allow people of all backgrounds to thrive within it.”

President & CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Mayra Pinedasaid, “HCCL is proud to actively promote the economic growth, development and interests of the Hispanic community in the Greater New Orleans Area and the State of Louisiana. It’s no secret that the spirit of entrepreneurship and the impulse to succeed are prominent attributes of the Hispanic community and we have witnessed it first hand in New Orleans. Hispanic owned small businesses are the fastest growing segment of the national economy representing important contributions to economic development. HCCL is committed to help find new ways to give businesses better and easier access to capital, contract opportunities and increased capacity through education. “

“The report today shows what New Orleans residents already know,” said Professor Bill Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. “Immigrants are our family members, neighbors, co-workers, and members of our faith communities.  But immigrant workers and family members live in constant fear. If they leave their homes to walk their children to school, if they go to the laundromat or the barber shop or the grocery store, they will be targeted for nothing more than looking Latino, and their families will never see them again. Catholic social teaching reminds us that all workers deserve dignity and all families belong together.”

Audrey Stewart, Managing Director of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, said, “We look forward to continuing to work with the City and the people of New Orleans to expand services and policies for immigrant residents.”

Today, March 21, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) is bringing together the nation’s mayors for the Cities’ Day of Immigration Action. Events today will demonstrate support for immigrants in communities across the country and reiterate the mayors’ support for comprehensive immigration reform and to underscore their value to both the national and local economies.

Since late 2016, USCM has focused considerable attention on immigration policy issues. Specifically, concerns about possible federal action that would penalize cities financially for their policies toward immigrants and lead to increased deportation of immigrants. With the January 28 issuance of an executive order halting admission to the United States by refugees and other immigrants, mayors, and USCM focused attention on these issues as well.

Mayor Landrieu serves as USCM vice president positioning Landrieu to ascend to the office of USCM president in June 2017.

New Orleans is one of 20 communities selected in the Gateways for Growth Challenge, an opportunity from NAE and Welcoming America that invited communities across the United States to apply for support for the development and implementation of multi-sector strategic plans for welcoming and integrating new Americans.

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About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. NAE members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. NAE members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.NewAmericanEconomy.org.

About U.S. Conference of Mayors

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

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