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State needs immigrants to succeed

A report from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce confirms what our state demographers have been telling us for a long time: Minnesota’s economy needs the immigrant population to succeed.

Here are some of the key findings of the Chamber’s report as outlined in its executive summary:

— Absent immigrants’ arrival, our overall population would have declined beginning in 2001, with Minnesota residents moving to other states.

— Immigrants link Minnesota to the world economy and make valuable and meaningful contributions to our state as employees, entrepreneurs, consumers and taxpayers.

— Immigrant entrepreneurship in Minnesota lags behind the rest of the nation. In a “homegrown” economy, entrepreneurship is a key source of new businesses. Building systems that support immigrant entrepreneurs is important to our economic success.

— Many of Minnesota’s most important industries have a strong immigrant presence. Without immigrant workers, key industries such as agriculture, health care and food manufacturing could not be as successful in the state.

And that brief summary just scrapes the surface of why being home to a healthy immigrant population affects all Minnesotans — wherever they live in the state and whatever their citizen status. As the COVID-19 pandemic taught us, if one sector of the economy suffers, it has a domino effect.

It’s up to all Minnesotans to recognize that our state’s economic stability and success depend on supporting and encouraging the growth of our immigrant populations. And U.S. and state governments as well as nonprofits need to continue to direct resources to agencies that can help ensure their success.

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