Immigrants Continue to Build Midwest Cities

Communications Associate

September 19, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Without immigrants, cities in the Rust Belt would be much worse off.

A Chicago Council on Global Affairs study released Monday indicates that immigrants have helped 13 Midwestern cities thrive by partially reversing decades of population decline and restoring an aging workforce.

A new generation of immigrants has been critically important to the region and its urban areas, as were previous generations, researchers found.

The study also analyzes how previous immigration restrictions hit Midwest cities hard. Following restrictions in the 1920s, the foreign-born population in those cities fell 64 percent between 1930 and 1970, leading to an overall population decline as well.

Yet members of Congress are considering legislation, endorsed by President Trump, to reduce legal immigration to the U.S. by half, which would have dangerous economic consequences throughout the country.

A recent paper from the National Immigration Forum and the National Foundation for American Policy underscores that legal immigration helps grow our economy. Imposing restrictions would not help American workers. And Midwest members of Congress could face pushback if they support these policies.

“A healthy economy for American workers depends on immigrants,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Restrictionist immigration policies that target even legal immigration would corrode the Rust Belt. American workers, cities and our economy need policies that recognize immigrants as essential to growth.”