Improve the Tri-City Economy Through Immigration Reform

February 23, 2015 7:30 am
by David Jakeman

If Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, together known as the Tri-City area, want to see a better economy, then they should look, hope, and work for comprehensive immigration. This is according to a study conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy, and it makes a lot of sense. Increasing the security and income flow to the immigrant population would boost spending power and a sense of stability that would allow for greater economic growth.

The Immigration Study

According to the Partnership for a New Economy, Latinos in the United States have significant buying power. Some have even noted that their spending power is larger than the retail behemoth Walmart’s annual revenue. Immigration reform would help many undocumented immigrants, among them a sizable portion of Latinos. It is estimated that around one dollar of every ten spent by U.S. consumers is from the Latino population.

Tom Gurr, who has helped publicize the study conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy, says that Latinos are “clearly a group of people who want to spend and have the ability to spend” and the community needs to encourage that. At face value, it seems a bit disingenuous to work on helping the Latino population so they will spend more money, but it does speak to the often difficult and precarious situations that immigrants can find themselves in. It is impossible to quantify the emotional and material benefits that would be created by immigration reform. That alone is a big reason why immigration reform should be passed.

Tri-City Immigration Benefits

Observers of the study argue that immigration reform would increase Hispanic spending power from $5 billion to $10 billion, which is not an insignificant amount. Immigrant labor plays a very important role in the Tri-City area. Colin Hastings, who is the executive director of the Pasco Chamber of Commerce, notes the crucial role immigrants play in farming and processing. Often times these are jobs that many Americans don’t want to do themselves.

In addition to these important roles, observers note that Latinos are also beginning to be able to access a university education in greater numbers. This will also increase their earning potential and their contribution to the tax base. Such advantages will spur further innovation and job growth in the Tri-City area. Immigrants often pay into Social Security, often with no chance of ever benefitting from the programs it offers. In short, immigrants play an essential role in the economy. They will be able to play an even more important role in the economy if there is comprehensive immigration reform.1

Most Kennewick immigration attorneys already know the important role that immigrants play in the Tri-City economy. It’s not uncommon to find clients who perform back-breaking work during the day and night to try to scratch out a better life in this country. We owe it to these hard workers to find a way that they can contribute even more, and the state of Washington will benefit greatly from such improvements across the country.

1 http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/12/11/3307859/tri-city-business-leaders-say.html