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Fewer Immigrants Moving To NYC Could Hurt Economic Growth, Experts And City Officials Say

Immigration to New York City has slowed, causing experts and city officials to worry about the city’s immigrant dependent economy, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Around 45% of the workforce in New York City is comprised of immigrants, and immigrant families reportedly own more than half of the businesses in the city, according to the mayor’s office, the WSJ reported. Stricter immigration laws and visa application delays due to the coronavirus pandemic have contributed to the decline in immigration to the city, according to officials and advocates.

“I am worried that declining rates of international immigration will hurt not only future economic growth in New York City but the stability of New York City’s tax base,” Director of State and Local Policy at the Manhattan Institute, Michael Hendrix said, the WSJ reported.

The immigration rate declined roughly 45%, from around 62,000 to 34,000 immigrants reportedly moving to the city between 2016 and 2019, according to senior fellow at the Brookings Institution William Frey, the WSJ reported.

Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Bitta Mostofi described immigration as essential to the city’s economy, the WSJ reported.

“We are very much a city of immigrants,” Mostofi told the WSJ. “You cannot look at the history of our city and not see the impact and footprint that immigrants have had on building our companies, our infrastructure, our small businesses and the culture of who we are.”

Director of the New York Office of the Migration Policy Institute Muzaffar Chishti anticipates the affordability of living in the U.S. will have a longer impact on immigration than the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the WSJ reported.

“Throughout New York’s history, certainly in the last 120 years, immigrants have shown they have much more faith in the resilience of the city than native-born people have,” Chishti said, the WSJ reported. Though, “middle-class immigrants are looking at options more than they used to because of the heavy cost of living, mostly due to rent,” Chishti said.

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