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Immigrants' impact.

A STUDY PRODUCED BY THE Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation gives a detailed look at how Arkansas' growing immigrant population is impacting the state, now and in the future.

The report concludes that although 51 percent of the state's immigrants are here illegally--the report calls them undocumented--they add more value than they take away. Simply put: Arkansas manufacturers are better off with immigrants than without them.

Two-thirds of the state's immigrants are from Mexico and Latin America, and 56 percent can be found working in the poultry and meat processing industry.

Directly and indirectly, immigrants generate almost $3 billion annually in Arkansas business revenue. Without immigrant labor, the study said, the state's manufacturing output would be 8 percent lower (that's $1.4 billion) and companies in the state would pay $95 million more in higher wages. What's more, immigrants and their U.S.-born children have a $19 million positive net fiscal impact on the Arkansas state budget.

We understand the concerns about illegal immigrants and share many of them, but it's good to know that they aren't a drag on the state's economy.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Apr 9, 2007
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