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Report indicates Kent County’s immigrant communities contributed $5 billion to the county’s 2019 Gross Domestic Product

American Immigration Council
American Immigration Council

Key findings revealed in Economic Impact Report of New Americans in Kent County, released by theAmerican Immigration Council.

The total number of immigrants calling Kent County home is 57,400. Of those, 17,000 or 23.5% are undocumented. If they were to be deported?

“What would happen to the economy of Kent County? It would collapse.”

Guillermo Cesneros is president of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Because we won’t have enough workers to be in manufacturing, to be in agriculture, to be in hospitality.”

One of the Economic Impact Report of New Americans in Kent County, released by theAmerican Immigration Council key findings is this:

“While making up 8.9 percent of the county’s overall population in 2019, immigrants represented 53.1 percent of agriculture workers, 15.3 percent of construction workers, and 14.8 percent of transportation and warehouse workers.”

Cesneros questions policies aiming to remove undocumented immigrants from the system.

“As a state, we can provide a document, a driver’s license, that could help them with mobility. And that would bring other pieces to the economy. They would pay car insurance. They will pay taxes to the state for the plates and different pieces.”

To that end, the report says that in 2021, Kent County immigrants contributed $192.3 million to Social Security and $47.8 million to Medicare.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.