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Immigration reform could have positive effects on manufacturing

Border security has become the sticking point for members of Congress debating comprehensive immigration reform. However, a major issue being overlooked by lawmakers is the positive effect immigration reform could have on the economy and local business.

While it is widely acknowledged that immigrants help keep the agriculture and hospitality sections running in South Carolina and the rest of the nation, a new study points out that immigrants also help to create and preserve manufacturing jobs.

The study, which was prepared by a Duke University professor for the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, concludes that there are approximately 46 manufacturing jobs created of saved for every 1,000 immigrants in the United States.

More specifically, the study shows that the immigrant population in Charleston County, which makes up 5.6 percent of the total population, has resulted in home values increasing by $940 and 884 manufacturing jobs being saved.

One of the ways in which immigrants help improve home values and save manufacturing jobs is by performing skilled labor.

The CEO of a home-building company based in Irmo explained that the housing market's recovery will suffer without immigration reform because there will be a shortage of workers to perform these jobs.

As you can see, immigration reform could have many important effects on the country and its economy, which is why it's important to see the issue in its entirety. Currently, some lawmakers seem too focused on just one issue: border security.

At this point, Congress is busy trying to work out a debt limit agreement, thus putting an end to the partial government shut down. However, immigrant advocates are not backing down on their push for reform.

Source: The Post and Courier, "Study: Immigrants help save more than 3,000 S.C. manufacturing jobs," Robert Behre, Sept. 20, 2013

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