In many parts of the country, immigrants are unfortunately vilified due to a harmful perception that new Americans are “stealing jobs” or depressing the economy. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Studies have shown, time and again, that new Americans are imperative to raising cultural awareness, closing the labor gap, and stimulating overall economic development.
New Americans also often share their immigrant stories with people across Minnesota, like our own intern, Mohamed Shukri. These stories offer Central Minnesota invaluable cultural experiences and education, making us among the most diverse communities in the country.
Immigration and Economic Stimulation
New Americans are two times more likely to start a small business than natural-born Americans. In addition, immigrant business owners made up about 7% of all self-employed Minnesota residents in 2018.
New Americans make massive contributions to our Central Minnesota economy. Without immigrants and refugees in Minnesota, key industries—such as agriculture, health care, and food manufacturing—would be inoperable. Additionally, immigrants pay around $793 million per year in state and local taxes, making them a key part of Minnesota’s overall financial health.
Diverse Experiences, Perspectives, and Cultural Awareness
In 2020, the American Immigration Council estimated foreign-born individuals made up about 9% of the Minnesota population. As a large college town, St. Cloud attracts people from around the world to Central Minnesota, with most immigrants coming from Mexico, Somalia, India, Laos, Ethiopia, China, Vietnam, and Korea.
With this diversity, we have the unique opportunity to improve our cultural sensitivity and increase our understanding of new perspectives. By welcoming new cultural experiences brought by immigrants and refugees, we’ll continue to improve our connections to new customs, ideas, foods, and art.
Immigrant voices in Central Minnesota are also important for future generational inclusivity. As our country learns to be more welcoming, immigrant and refugee voices will continue to be amplified through institutional change. New Americans are being elected to positions in local governments and within the education system, using their experiences to influence new thought.
This creates even more diversity, equity, and inclusion for future generations, and further cements the promise of Lady Liberty: all weary souls are welcome.
Creating A More Inclusive Community
In just the last 10 years, more than 105,000 new Americans have chosen to settle down and make Minnesota their home. With the diverse perspectives from immigrant and refugee voices, Minnesota can continue to be the country’s North Star State, guiding America to a better, more inclusive future.
Here at Unite Cloud, our mission is to make an impact on the way we incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our daily lives. To learn more about how you can be an active ally for immigrant community members in Central Minnesota, contact us today.