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Economic Competitiveness of the Midwest Relies on Immigration Reform

Cities like St. Louis, where the 44,000 native-born Americans that left in the last decade have been replaced by 31,000 immigrants, offer a case study for why comprehensive immigration reform has a good chance of passing in divided Washington.
April 9, 2013, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Anna Fifield describes the economic and demographic trends driving Midwesterners from across the aisles to push for comprehensive immigration reform. Declining populations, shrinking tax bases, and jobs in need of skilled workers are among the elements changing the political prognosis for reform.  

"Although there are still many hurdles to be overcome – not least the question of whether the undocumented immigrants should be given a pathway to earning citizenship – analysts say the prospects are the best in years, driven by rapidly changing demographics that have seen Hispanics become the largest voting bloc," she explains.

"While much of the attention has been on states that border Mexico and have large illegal populations, the broken immigration system is hurting states as far north as the Canadian border because of their declining populace."

“'Midwest leaders want to ensure sustainable growth, jobs, population stability, and quality of life,' the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a think-tank, wrote in its report, entitled US Economic Competitiveness at Risk: A Midwest Call to Action on Immigration Reform. 'Immigrants are an essential ingredient for this future. America’s heartland can wait no longer,' it said."

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Published on Friday, April 5, 2013 in The Financial Times
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