By Ed Diokno
Views from the Edge
So you’re taking the plunge and becoming more politically aware; planning on visiting your Congressional representative or attending his or her town hall; writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper; taking part in the many marches and demonstrations protesting the policies of the new president.
Good for you! Democracy is not a sport for bystanders.
However, there are so many issues to focus on — the economy, the growing divide between the Trumpeters and the rest of America, and inequities in the justice system, — that it is almost impossible to know all there is to know about the wide range of issues facing us.
All of those topics are important, but for most Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the demographic with the fastest rate of immigration for the last five years, immigration is the subject that hits close to home. Most AAPI are first- or second-generation immigrants with family and friends still in our country of origin. Here’s a new tool to help you discuss the subject with your Congressional rep or with your friends and family.
New American Economy (NAE) released Map the Impact, an interactive website showcasing the contributions of immigrants in all 435 Congressional districts, the 55 largest U.S. metro areas, all 50 states, and industry sectors across the economy.
Map the Impact also features hundreds of stories and videos featuring local leaders in all corners of the country talking about why immigration matters to them.
Today, business, conservative, and cultural leaders are sharing the data and calling on Congress to pass immigration reform via 141 events and actions.
“This data puts the economic power of America’s immigrants in stark relief,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “Across the map, and in every industry, immigrants strengthen the economies of big cities and small towns alike.”
The map serves as a go-to resource on the power that immigrants wield in the United States, and an advocacy tool for users to take action on the issue.
With many features, Map the Impact provides users a way to see how immigrants are contributing to their congressional district, showcases the impact of immigrants in specific sectors like tech and agriculture, and shares stats and graphics directly with elected officials via social media.
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Visit www.MapTheImpact.org for information about the influence of immigrants in America on states, cities, and districts.
For instance, in the innovation and STEM fields, the website points out how vital that sector depends on immigrants:
“For America to compete in the 21st century, we need a robust innovation economy—which requires a workforce skilled in the science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) fields. Yet American students are not entering those industries in sufficient numbers, and the United States is projected to face a shortage of one million STEM workers by 2022. Foreign-born students frequently gravitate towards STEM disciplines, making up roughly one out of every three individuals earning graduate-level STEM degrees each year. Our broken visa system, however, makes it difficult many of them to stay after graduation—a reality that hurts the ability of our employers to expand and create more opportunity for American workers.“
With the focus Mr. Trump is putting on immigrants, refugees, undocumented Americans, foreign visitors, students and The Damn Wall, people need to know that they are not the criminals, “bad dudes” and leeches that the current president would have us believe they are.
There is no argument that our immigration laws need to be reformed. How we do that in a humane and fair way that is beneficial to our country is the discussion we should be having without having to resort to the scare tactics.
Immigrants are essential to the U.S. economy, and deporting millions of them will only weaken us as a nation.
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