Chelsie Kramer of New American Economy, a nonprofit, bipartisan immigration research and advocacy organization was a guest on a recent episode of Rational Middle podcast. New American Economy mobilizes and engages business leaders and community leaders on immigration issues through the lens of the positive economic impact immigrants have on the economy. The New American Economy also launched a business coalition last year called Texans for Economic Growth, dedicated to recognizing and supporting the positive impact that immigrants have on the Texas economy as business owners, taxpayers, and consumers.
During this episode, Chelsie and Rational Middle podcast host Chris Lyon discuss what that new economy looks like and how we can ensure that immigrants, regardless of their current status, can participate to the fullest. Immigration affects every portion of the economy, so you can’t talk about the economy without thinking about immigration. Here in Houston, we see immigration affecting every sector at every skill level.
"Think about post-Harvey when the city was trying to rebuild. To do that, we needed as many construction workers available to us as possible. The construction industry hires and employs a vast amount of immigrants, and they do great work here in this city. The city was able to rebuild as quickly as it did because of the immigrant labor that is available to us here in Houston," Chelsie said.
Since this podcast was recorded before the coronavirus pandemic, Construction Citizen caught up with Chelsie for an update. “While this podcast was recorded pre-pandemic, immigrants will continue to be critical to the fight, response, and recovery in the coming months nationally and in Texas," she stated.
The labor market has contracted at a record pace during the COVID-19 crisis with the latest data showing frontline healthcare, healthcare support, and essential industry workers still in growing demand. Many of these occupations are also ones that rely on immigrant workers. This includes registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists, but also jobs like stock movers, order fillers, packers, and butchers.
Immigrants are helping on the front lines of the crisis, but many are also vulnerable to the economic hardships associated with COVID-19, especially as workers in some of the industries hit the hardest.
To learn more about the country’s changing workforce needs and how immigrants are vital to our response, check out New American Economy’s Immigrants and COVID-19 Portal.