John Stoehr: Immigration boosts the bottom line

Gov. Dannel Malloy likes to fight.

He’s been sparring with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for months. During the debate between vice presidential candidates, Malloy took a few shots on Twitter, saying that in refusing to admit Syrian refugees, among other things, Pence was the perfect pairing for the “dangerously extreme” Donald Trump.

His words were vindicated a day later when a federal court ruled that Pence’s refusal to take refugees was discriminatory.

Pence had said his true concern was security. But Judge Richard Posner, as well-known conservative, said that was like saying “that he wants to forbid black people to settle in Indiana not because they’re black but because he’s afraid of them, and since race is therefore not his motive, he isn’t discriminating.”

That’s unlikely to change the mind of Republicans in Indiana or Connecticut, who have also voiced concerned about “safety.” But if a federal judge can’t change their minds, something else will.

Money.

Fact is, refugees and immigrants are good for business.

Economists, liberal and conservative, conclude time and again that refugees and immigrants boost the economic growth of states that welcome them. They broaden the tax base, buy goods and services, and contribute to our state’s overall production. Connecticut took in refugees Pence refused. By year’s end, the state will have resettled about 300 Syrian who fled civil war.

There’s more.

Immigrants are entrepreneurial, a trait we need to cultivate as a state reputed as being bad for business. Nearly 14 percent of residents are foreign-born. They account for 18.5 percent of small-business owners. They generate over $2 billion in income, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy.

They also provide much-needed brain power. Hartford, Danbury and Stamford have the highest concentration of H1-B visas, which allow Connecticut companies to expand by bringing in outside specialists in math, science and technology.

Immigrants mean density. And density is destiny.

By John Stoehr for ctPost.com
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