Every single study done has proven that far from depleting our resources and taking away from Americans, immigrants have, and continue to contribute significantly to our industry, our culture, and our economy.
Immigration does not undermine the American way of life; it is an integral part of it. We are in fact a nation of immigrants and descendants of immigrants. Ongoing immigration has kept our country demographically young, enriched our culture and added to our productive capacity as a nation, enhancing our influence in the world.
Immigrants earned $1.3 trillion and contributed $105 billion in state and local taxes and nearly $224 billion in federal taxes in 2014. In 2014 immigrants had almost $927 billion in consumer spending power and those numbers have increased exponentially over the past two years. The fact is that Immigrants help drive every single sector and industry in this economy. Though immigrants make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, they contribute nearly 15 percent of the country's economic output.
We can never tell where the next Steve Jobs will come from; the Apple Co-founder was the son of a Syrian refugee, one of the countries included in President Trump's immigration ban. Where will the next Sergey Brin come from? The co-founder of Google was born in Moscow. These companies have been driving forces behind social and technological innovations and have changed the American landscape decisively.
Lady Liberty, the iconic American symbol of freedom represents the friendship between nations and freedom from oppression. She was one of the first sights that immigrants saw as they sailed into New York Harbor. The words so famously inscribed on her gave hope to generations of immigrants and Americans and underscored the philosophy of our nation.
"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Here in Plainfield, we are fortunate to have a dynamic and diverse city, rich in culture, with a yet untapped resource of millennial power and we are proud to say that we embrace our immigrant community. Our downtown is a celebration of the differences that unite us. One doesn't need to travel to the Caribbean to sample samosa's or jerk chicken, just take a walk down Park or along Front Street. We don't need to be onboard a cruise ship to enjoy salsa or reggae music. We celebrate the uniqueness that makes us Plainfield, and we treasure and nurture our young people, immigrant and native born who I believe will embrace the legacy we leave... that of unity.
As an immigrant to this great country for almost 40 years, I am proud to be American, and I was grateful to be afforded the opportunities that came my way as I pursued my dream of serving my community and country in public office. The willingness to embrace dreamers from across the globe is what has defined America for decades, and providing a path to making those dreams a reality; this is the America that many died to defend and it is the America we must fight to preserve.
Creating One Plainfield, One Future...
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield