U.S. chamber: Farmers need illegal immigrants in workforce

Randy Johnson, a vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, explains his organization’s views on immigration and labor Monday. With him is Glenn Hamer, president of the state chamber./ Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Arizona needs its 920,000 foreign-born residents, both legal and otherwise, to fuel the state’s economy, according to a new study and some business leaders.

The report Monday by the New American Economy says those families had $21.4 billion in household income in 2014, the most recent figures available. They paid $1.7 billion in state and local taxes and have $16 billion in spending power.

When just the undocumented are counted, their earnings were $3.5 billion and $3.1 billion in spending power.

And the number of foreign-born immigrants living in Arizona grew faster between 2010 and 2014 than the overall rate of growth, both from births and people moving here from other states.


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