Is New Jersey’s immigrant population an HR advantage or a fiscal liability? Whichever your view, you won’t have to look far for statistics to back you up.
Illegal immigrants cost New Jersey more than $2.1 billion annually, according to a recent study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The bulk of that sum goes toward educating the 50,000 children who are in the state illegally and another 94,000 born here to illegal immigrants.
At the same time, Duke University released a study showing that nearly 38 percent of engineering and technology companies in New Jersey have immigrant founders, a rate exceeded only by California. The majority of those founders are Indian, the study concluded.
Meanwhile, in Passaic, Mayor Samuel Rivera cut the ribbon on the first city-supported day-laborer hiring center in New Jersey, with a pull-in zone for picking up workers. Passaic plans to issue special ID cards, which won’t be used for U.S. immigration purposes, to protect the workers from unscrupulous contractors. Participants will wholly fund the center.
Outlook: The immigrant worker controversy won’t be resolved easily or quickly. But in the current tight labor market, with native workers often shunning lower-paying jobs, many employers see the immigrant glass as half full.