How Immigrants Made Chicago Great

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Despite the administration’s arguments to the contrary, immigrants have contributed a great deal to the economy and to the success of Chicago itself. In Illinois, one out of every seven people are immigrants, and one out of every eight have at least one parent who was an immigrant. In the metropolitan area of Chicago, 20 percent of all of the businesses are owned by immigrants. Immigrants in Chicago pay taxes, own businesses, employ other people and play important parts in the social and cultural fabric of the city. The state and the city would both suffer significant economic harm if the administration’s hard-line immigration approach is implemented into law.

Immigrants Have Made Positive Contributions in Illinois

Legal immigration is beneficial to everyone who lives and works in Illinois. There are 1.8 million immigrants currently living in the state. Between 2010 and 2014, about 9,694 people immigrated to Illinois. In 2014, businesses that were owned by immigrants in Illinois generated $2.6 billion in income, and 113,939 immigrants are self-employed. These immigrant-owned businesses provide jobs for 281,090 people in Illinois. Among Fortune 500 companies in Illinois, 56 percent were founded by immigrants or by the children of immigrants.

Households headed by immigrants earned $55 billion in 2014, and immigrants in Illinois contributed almost $7 billion to Medicare and Social Security. They also paid $5.2 billion in state taxes and $9.8 billion in federal taxes. About 45.5 percent of native-born Illinoisans worked in 2014, compared with 61.3 percent of immigrants who worked. In 2010, immigrants were responsible for creating or saving 81,000 jobs in manufacturing.

Immigrants make up 17.7 percent of the state’s population but make up 37.7 percent of the people who work as software developers. In the packaging and packing industry, immigrants make up 51 percent of the workers. In 2014, there were far more STEM jobs available in Illinois than there were workers to fill them. Approximately 144,608 jobs in STEM fields were advertised and only 11,165 STEM workers were unemployed. In the Illinois STEM field in 2014, 23.2 percent of all workers were immigrants.