Throughout the history of the United States, the issue of immigration has been at the center of public debates and discussions. However, even in the best of years, the economic role of immigrants is often neglected during these debates. In a year like 2009, marked by a drastic economic downturn, the economic role of immigrants may be brought to the forefront, but in a way that fuels misperceptions, stereotypes, and rhetoric.
In Washington state, as in many states across the country, there has yet to be a state-specific report that looks factually at the demographic changes in Washington’s population over the last several decades, the current demographics of immigrants in the state, and the contributions of immigrants to the economy.
Building Washington’s Future: Immigrant Workers’ Contributions to Our State’s Economy attempts to fill this gap. The report outlines demographic trends related to immigrants in Washington; immigrant contributions to the economy through consumption, taxes, and their use of public benefits; the role of immigrants in the workforce and their direct contributions to a variety of industries as “unskilled” workers, immigrant entrepreneurs, and H-1B visa holders.