President Trump has embraced the idea of a test for new immigrants where the prospective green card holders would be judged on their median salary, advanced degrees, ability to speak English and whether they are able to afford their own health care. It would limit the family members of immigrants that can be brought along to the U.S. to primarily spouses and minor children, and limit the number of annual refugee admissions.
We couldn’t help wondering: how would this idea affect us here in Connecticut?
“Since 1980, all of the net growth in Connecticut comes from immigration,” said Peter Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. “We would be losing population if it weren’t for immigrants.”
In fact, nearly one in every seven Connecticut residents is foreign born.
“What Trump gets right is the focus on skilled immigrants,” Gioia said. “What he gets wrong is limiting the number of skilled immigrants. It’s not good for the United States and it’s not good for Connecticut.”
Put another way, with more and more baby boomers retiring every day, we need newcomers to take their place in the workforce - and on the tax rolls.
That immigrants are important to our economy should come as no surprise to the residents of central Connecticut, where we have seen the many important contributions newcomers and their first and second generation descendants have made throughout the 20th century and as recently as today. We see it in Little Poland, in the area’s many ethnic churches, restaurants and festivals and, most important, in the fierce pride, independence and ingenuity of those who helped build our cities and towns.
And, as Gioia points out, there’s more work to do.