Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Economy > States passing draconian immigration bills aren’t taking into account Latino buying power

States passing draconian immigration bills aren’t taking into account Latino buying power

LatinaLista — One of the most creative movies about Latinos to ever come out of Hollywood was the 2004 film “A Day Without a Mexican.”


The premise of the story was all the Mexicans in the state of California disappear, and no one knows why. While the focus in the film was the labor Latinos do and how that impacts everyone’s lives, there is also another factor that is only now gaining the recognition it deserves — real financial contributions of Latino consumers.

In light of the mean-spirited and vicious state laws being passed trying to drive out undocumented immigrants from the country, like the one this week in Arizona, other states have realized that Latino consumers buoy their state’s coffers.

For example,

in Idaho, Hispanic buying power grew 10 times faster than the buying power of the state’s non-Hispanic residents, according to estimates from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.

The University of Georgia’s Selig Center reported:

In 2009, Hispanics account for 9.1 percent of all U.S. buying power, up from only 6.8 percent in 2000 and from 5 percent in 1990. Due to this brisk growth, Hispanic buying power essentially pulled even with African-American buying power in 2005, and surpassed it in 2006. The estimates show that gap between the two groups’ total buying power expanded in 2009 and will widen further in future years.

And a Nielsen multicultural study of buying trends had among its findings:

When compared to the general population, on average Hispanic Shoppers:

Tend to spend more on categories for babies and children. Hispanic households represent 11.8% of CPG total spending, but 16.6% of disposable diaper sales.

Tend to spend more in traditional mass merchandise and warehouse clubs.
Tend to spend more on food consumed at home.

The Hispanic TV audience in the US is growing faster than the TV audience for the total population, showing a continued increase of Hispanic TV homes (2.3%) compared with total US TV homes (0.3%) for the 2009-2010 TV season.

The number of people ages 2 and older in Hispanic TV homes will also grow, with estimates showing a 2.4% increase to a total of 44.3 million.

Yet, this isn’t even the whole story.

When undocumented immigrants are allowed to join mainstream society as full partners in this economy, there will be additional benefits:

A January 2010 study by Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, conducted for the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, estimates that during the first three years after legalization, the higher earning power of newly legalized workers “would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue.”

A state-by-state study titled Assessing the Economic Impact of Immigration at the State and Local Level by the Immigration Policy Center found states didn’t lose financially with immigrant populations within their borders, unlike what the critics of undocumented immigrants want people to believe, but actually gained monetarily from their presence.

ARIZONA: A 2007 study by the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy concluded that “the total state tax revenue attributable to immigrant workers was an estimated $2.4 billion (about $860 million for naturalized citizens plus about $1.5 billion for non-citizens). Balanced against estimated fiscal costs of $1.4 billion (for education, health care, and law enforcement), the net 2004 fiscal impact of immigrants in Arizona was positive by about $940 million.”

ARKANSAS: A 2007 study by the Urban Institute found that “Arkansas immigrants had an estimated total after-tax income of $2.7 billion in 2004. Approximately 20 percent of this was sent home to families abroad, saved, or used for interest payments. The remaining spending had a total impact on the state of $2.9 billion…” In addition, “without immigrant labor, the output of the state’s manufacturing industry would likely be lowered by about $1.4 billion–or about 8 percent of the industry’s $16.2 billion total contribution to the gross state product in 2004.”

COLORADO: Unauthorized immigrants in Colorado paid between $159 million and $194 million in state and local taxes in 2005, according to a 2006 study by the Bell Policy Center, which includes $24 million to $30 million in state income taxes, $10 million to $13 million in property taxes and $125 million to $151 million in sales taxes. In addition, Colorado employers paid between $12 million and $15 million in unemployment insurance taxes to the state on behalf of unauthorized workers in 2005. Unauthorized workers are prohibited by state law from collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

IOWA: A 2007 study by the Iowa Policy Project concluded that “undocumented immigrants pay an estimated aggregate amount of $40 million to $62 million in state taxes each year.” Moreover, “undocumented immigrants working on the books in Iowa and their employers also contribute annually an estimated $50 million to $77.8 million in federal Social Security and Medicare taxes from which they will never benefit. Rather than draining state resources, undocumented immigrants are in some cases subsidizing services that only documented residents can access.”

All in all, those people who are so quick to demand the removal of undocumented immigrants, who have lived and worked peacefully in this country, may not now understand the impact of their short-sighted paranoia but it’s clear from all the reserach that life with less Latinos could end up costing us all more.

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  • Alonzo
    April 15, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Since undocumented immigrants were never entitled to be in Arizona in the first place, how is it mean-spirited? Would it be mean spirited if we had a border that was impervious to illicit crossing, and everyone had to go through Customs? Obviously not. Arizona is morally entitled to defend its economy and citizens against the presence of illegal foreigners. Arizona is just correcting a wrong. Your righteous indignation indicates that you no longer respect your country’s integrity. Arizonans no longer care if out of staters jump up and down in an effort to promote their social agendas at their expense. They stand on principle, while others stand on no principle but advocacy for people who are not entitled to a voice in this country. They are no more entitled to a voice in our political arena than are our citizens when they go to Mexico.

  • cookie
    April 16, 2010 at 7:48 am

    So it is mean spirited to enforce our immigration laws? Is it also mean spirited to enforce any of our other laws?
    Why are the lines constantly being blurred between illegal aliens and citizen Latinos in this country by the pro-advocates by lumping them altogether in their supposed benefit to this country?
    I would imagine if we released all of the American law breakers from our jails and prisons that they would add to the buying power of this country also. Should we do that just for the almighty dollar? The jobs these illegals are holding should go for Americans and they then would be buying these same goods and contributing to our economy.
    What is wrong with Latino citizens who use some supposed monetary benefit of illegal aliens in direct conflict with the rule of law of the country they are supposed to be loyal to?

  • Karla
    April 16, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    The immigration laws being passed are mean-spirited because they are based on prejudice, and do not solve any problems, but only add to them. The decision to leave one’s country for another is not taken lightly. The real reasons behind immigration, legal or not, need to be addressed for the problems to be fixed. Our government has never been truly interested in doing that.
    Furthermore, we tend to blur the lines between “illegal aliens” and Latino U.S. citizens when addressing these issues because actions, such as ethnic and racial profiling, taken by law officials to enforce immigration laws do just that, and affect all Latinos, not just those here illegally. I have personally seen the difference between going through an immigration checkpoint with a caucasian friend and going through one on my own or with my children. With my caucasian friend, I am not questioned as to where I’ve been or where I’m going. However, passing through on my own or with my children, I am.
    Lastly, when educators, police officers, medical personnel, and other emergency responders are forced to enforce immigration laws, the lines become very blurry, and all Latinos are automatically suspect. It’s bad enough when a U.S. born citizen (7th generation) such as myself is asked for a green card when applying for a job, but these kinds of laws bring fear and mistrust into the lives of Latinos who should be able to trust and feel secure in calling on those whose job it is to help us in times of need. I do not feel I should have to carry my birth certificate or passport or those of my children everywhere I go in order to prove our right to be in this country, but how else can I feel secure that I would not be wrongly accused of being here illegally if I don’t?

  • Cindi Jane
    April 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    “The real reasons behind immigration, legal or not, need to be addressed for the problems to be fixed. Our government has never been truly interested in doing that.”
    That’s true, Karla, but where should we start? I can name 100 countries whose citizens would emigrate to the U.S. on no notice. We could easily double or triple our numbers in a short while if we didn’t restrict immigration. Many of the remaining 80 million of Mexico have stated that they would enter if they had the opportunity. Should we take responsibility to solve all suffering nation’s problems and ignore our sovereign right to govern our borders? The fact is that the majority of Americans feel that it’s more important to defend their right to govern who enters than to cave to the demands of the millions who would swamp us if they could. The immigration system is broken, but it’s the illegal aliens who’ve overburdened our system who broke it. Without them, there would be no problem.

  • cookie
    April 17, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Karla, how are our immigration laws prejudiced? We take in as many legal immigrants that we can accomodate every year. We cannot take in everyone who wants to come here. What is it about that commom sense policy that you don’t understand? Latinos are only second to Asians in legal immigrant quotas and only by a small margin so how is that being prejudiced?
    If Latinos are questioned more about their status in this country it is only because they are here in largest numbers overwhelmingly. What is it about that you don’t understand? If Latino citizens are questioned, so what? They have valid I.D. and should have nothing to fear. They don’t have to carry a birth certificate either that is an exaggeration on your part. All that is required is a valid driver’s license or state I.D. We all carry one or the other on us at all times or at least we should. You pro-illegals are always crying foul and making up exaggerations when in truth it is all about your ethnocentricisms and the desire for your own ethnic kind here illegally to remain in this country. Why don’t you all be honest for once and just admit it that your ethnicity trumps our laws and your loyalty to this country?

  • arturo fernandez
    April 18, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Why do anti-illegal-immigrant fanatics get indignant over the words “mean-spirited”? Mean-spiritness is what’s behind these laws, it’s just the way it is.
    Be honest: you believe meanness is what’s required to solve this problem you think is so catastrophic.

  • Anonymous
    April 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We do not have a problem with “Illegal immigrants”. PERIOD.
    “We” have a problem with the Mexican Government Kleptocracy and the Oligarchical families that have driven the Mexican economy into the toilet; aided and abetted by the US trade treaties NAFTA, GATT, CAFTA, and the Mammon worshipers of Wall Street.
    The US missed it’s chance to force change with the 1993 Mexican investor bailout. As predicted, NAFTA sucked the manufacturing jobs from the US and then GATT and CAFTA sucked those jobs from Mexico AND forced ADM and Monsanto’s “free market competition” and GMA Corn on the Mexican subsistence farmers.
    Joe Legal vs. Jose Illegal is a perfect example of hyperbole, fear mongering, and demagoguery: Its purpose is to prevent the reader from seeing the actual problem and to blame the victims instead of the true victimizers.

  • Britany
    April 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    “……………all Latinos are automatically suspect.”
    You’re right Karla, but it doesn’t take a law in Arizona to make millions of non-Latinos suspect newly arrived Latinos of being non-citizens. What would you think if you saw you community fill up with thousands of new Chinese residents in conjunction with the news that we had a run on our northern border by that ethnic group? And what would you think if ethnic Chinese citizens were hiding them in their neighborhoods. Millions of Americans do suspect their Latino neighbors of being illegal aliens, and for just cause, because its true in many cases. What you want the people to do is deny the truth they’ve seen with their own eyes. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that Latino citizen advocates are hiding them in their neighborhoods, agitating for their continued presence and hindering the enforcement of the immigration laws. Tell me otherwise.

  • Karen
    April 19, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Why would anybody take our buing power into account when we don’t use it effectively? if Arizona businesses such as U-Haul and Best Western start losing business, then maybe this law will be repealed.

  • Joe Ortiz, Author
    April 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    The the following verses state very clearly what God says about the alien issue, whether one considers them illegal or legal:
    “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 23 In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 47:21)
    The following verses (among many, many other ones that basically state how God feels about the weak and feeble, the lost and downtrodden:
    “I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice. (Ezekiel 34:16).
    Wow! So who do we believe? Glen Beck, Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermman? Dennis Prager, or God!

  • Angel
    April 20, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    “Be honest: you believe meanness is what’s required to solve this problem you think is so catastrophic.”
    It’s like this Arturo, we’ve tried nice, but they still keep coming and those here won’t leave without being escorted over the border. And Mexico, which is the source of most of these people and the country that has abused them, just spits in our face, so yes, perhaps meanness is the only thing these people will understand. We don’t want the economic burden that they would inevitably present to our welfare state. As someone said in this blog, you don’t import 20 million poor and uneducated without someone paying the price.

  • arturo fernandez
    April 23, 2010 at 2:11 am

    They don’t leave because of the wall. Tear the wall down, make in-and-out easy, and they’ll leave when things get tough here, because it’s easy to come back again. They come when we need them and leave when our economy begins to stink, like now. Only an open border makes any sense. So not only is meanness wrong, it doesn’t work. There is something in human beings that takes pleasure in seeing other suffer. We must not give in to that.

  • Angel
    April 25, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Your not much of a patriot, Arturo, if your idea is permitting criminals to effortlessly enter our country, whether they come for work or smuggle guns, criminals, or terrorists. Tell me that Mexicans would find that acceptable if conditions were reversed. No, obviously your interests are the welfare of foreigners and that you care little for the lives of US citizen, after all, they’re just collateral damage to your true goal of open borders and no definition between our country and Mexico. Well, we all see how corrupt and violent that country can be, and we’ll have nothing of that.
    If Mexican would elect honest government officials, perhaps they wouldn’t have to leave their homeland. Nobody speaks of this shame of Mexico and Mexicans can’t seem to acknowledge this national shame, the first step on a course to economic success. Nothing will be served by Mexicans and their US citizen advocates simultaneously making the US the scapegoat of their problems and savior from their woes. Staying home and making their politicians pay the price of their corruption is the only solution.

  • arturo fernandez
    April 29, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    What wall was missing that would have kept the 9/11 terrorists from entering our country? We’re wasting billions of dollars building a wall on the southern border and going after hardworking people already in the U.S. You’re not serious about criminals and terrorists. You’re using criminals and terrorists as an excuse to go after people you don’t like.

  • cookie
    May 2, 2010 at 8:42 am

    You can’t be that naive Arturo to think that there aren’t any criminals or terrorists entering illegally through our southern border. Even the FBI director has said that people from known terrorist countries have entered through our southern border and disappeared into our country. What about those with deseases? When you come legally you have a health check. When you come illegally you don’t. Don’t you give a damn about possible communicable deseases being spread in this country in that manner? You and your illegal alien advocates just put blinders on when it comes to reality with your BS about they are all only here to work.
    What about the rule of law? Does that mean nothing to you? Is it ok to disrespect our immigration laws and soveirgn borders? I can’t for life of me understand how any loyal American can take the side of illegal aliens in all of this.

  • arturo fernandez
    May 5, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Cookie, like Angel who is using terrorists and criminals as an excuse to go after people he doesn’t like, you’re now using the fear of diseases. Tell me, during the healthcare debate, did it bother you that the anti-illegal-immigrant fanatics demanded that the Obama healthcare bill NOT give illegal immigrants the option to purchase health insutance? Do you support amnesty for illegal immigrants so they can buy health insurance?

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