According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute, by 2013, Colorado had a population of more than 4 million (ages 16 and over). Of those, 12 percent were born in another country.
The foreign-born in Colorado come from other parts of the world as follows:
· Africa, 25,000, or 5%
· Asia, 97,000, or 21%
· Europe, 68,000, or 15%
· Latin America, 257,000, or 55%
· Northern America, 14,000, or 3%
· Oceania, 3,000 or 1%
The category “Latin America” includes South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Northern America includes Canada, Bermuda, Greenland, and St. Pierre and Miquelon.
A new non-partisan 2016 study on entrepreneurship supports the belief that America benefits from robust immigration.
The study, from the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan think tank based in Arlington, Va., was reported in the Wall Street Journal on March 17. It shows that immigrants started more than half of the current crop of U.S.-based startups valued at $1 billion or more.
These 44 companies, the study says, are collectively valued at $168 billion and create an average of roughly 760 jobs per company in the U.S. The study also estimates that immigrants make up over 70% of key management or product development positions at these companies.
The three highest valued U.S. companies with immigrant founders include car-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc., data-software company Palantir Technologies Inc. and rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Inc.
Stuart Anderson, the study’s author and the foundation’s executive director, says the findings show that the U.S. economy could benefit from the talents of foreign-born entrepreneurs even more if it were easier for them to obtain visas.
The process to secure a visa is lengthy and cumbersome. The visas are capped at 85,000 per year. In 2015, the lotter to obtain a visa hit capacity within one week, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The USCIS said it received nearly 23,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period.
While bills to address these issues have been introduced, they have failed to gain traction due to the overall standstill on immigration policy.
According to the study, founders of billion-dollar startups most often hail from India (14), followed by Canada and the U.K., with eight each, then Israel (7), Germany (4) and France (2). Two brothers, the co-founders of payments startup Stripe, are from Ireland.
A study by the Pew Research Center has found that more than one million Mexicans and their families, including American-born children, let the U.S. for Mexico between 2009-2014. During the same five years, 870,000 Mexicans came to the U.S.
The desire to reunite families was the main reason for the out-migration. Other factors appeared to be the aging of Mexico’s population and increase in manufacturing centers along the border due to the North American Free Trade Agreement, providing jobs for younger workers.
The terrible story of a young Somalian man who was blinded by insurgents in his country, and who now is trying to support himself and his two younger sisters, was the topic of an article in the Littleton Independent on Dec. 17, 2015.
The horror of the story what happened to him in Somalia — and on Thanksgiving weekend when his mother was killed in a car crash and his sister’s back was broken — is offset by the kindness and caring of the people at the Spring International Language Center, who have set up a GoFundMe account to assist the family. LI3 Board member Connie Shoemaker, Director Emeritus of the Center, is quoted in the article.
To learn more about Yasin Mohamud and his experience, see http://littletonindependent.net/stories/Refugees-path-takes-wrenching-turn,203757.
Donations can be made via the Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/miracleforyasin.
By Susan M. Thornton, Chair
The City of Aurora is moving forward to welcome and integrate people from around the world. Nearly one in five people in the city of approximately 340,000 was born in another country.
A new Aurora Welcome Center has been developed in partnership with the city’s new Office of International and Immigrant Affairs. The Welcome Center is housed in a building owned by Aurora Public Schools. Initial funding is from the private sector and nonprofits.
Aurora Public Schools has established a new Community Corps Liaison program, designed to recruit and train volunteers to work with international students in the schools. More than 1,000 volunteers are now involved, according to APS Superintendent D. Rico Munn.
And a three-year planning process, with public input, will focus on citizenship and civic involvement; small business training; public safety awareness; and outreach via sports and recreation, such as a new Aurora International Soccer Club, for example.
Let’s hope that other communities will be inspired by Aurora’s example to think about ways to integrate newcomers into the fabric of their civic life.
Politicians who are blaming Mexico for sending immigrants to the U.S. might want to notice the latest trend: immigration from Asia.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, immigrants from China and India have overtaken immigrants from Mexico in the numbers coming to the U.S. The shift has been building for more than a decade, the Census Bureau said in a May release. Of the 1.2 million newly arrived immigrants, China led with 147,000 followed by India with 129,000 and Mexico with 125,000.
The Census Bureau says this is in contrast to the 2000 census, which counted 402,000 immigrants from Mexico and no more than 84,000 each from China and India.
In addition, according to the Texas State Demographer, the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the state each year has dropped by more than half since 2005.
(Source: Associated Press, Aug. 30, 2015)
We asked some of our grantees what small amounts of assistance from LI3 meant to them. Here are what some of them had to say:
I want to thank LI3 who helped my family to settle in Littleton. Coming to a new country is like suddenly being blind. How do we know what to do? Where do we go? Who will lead us? We were so lucky to have a team of people who helped us find our way and to finally live in peace.
- Raad (refugee from Iraq)
I would like to have more opportunity to improve my family life, career, and for my two children, both born in America. Becoming a citizen will assist with completing college and I look forward to taking part in my community as a voter.
LI3, thank you very much for the help, especially with providing me the money [for citizenship application]. I was able to pass my test and I truly appreciate your support. I hope you can continue to help more people like me who need it. Thank you again and may God bless you.
It is important for me to become a U.S. Citizen so that I can stay here in the United States, close to my children and grandchildren who are all U.S. citizens.
I spent more than 30 years living in the United States. I feel part of this country all of my daughters are U.S. Citizens. I want to start with English classes so I can help my family and give back to this beautiful country. I plan to volunteer when I can use my native language.
I very much appreciate the support of LI3 to help me pay for [citizenship application] costs. I am also very appreciated of this country which is why I want to become a citizen.
I am very greatful for the scholarship as it is a big help to obtain my DACA. This is important to me because this is my opportunity to finish what I started. I am/will be able to finish my career. It is a nursing career. If I cannot do this I will continue with a career in education. I love to help people and being bilingual this will give me a bigger opportunity to help out in a better way. Thank you so much for helping me on my way to a better life.
- Olivier (brought to this country without documents as a young child)
I am very happy to become a citizen. I will feel bigger and more confident. I can go to school, get an education and get some benefits. I will get English education so I can talk with everyone.
Thank you so much for your support of my citizenship [application]. That would not be possible if not for your support. With all my heart,
I am very happy. I am very close to becoming a citizen on August 12. Thank you for your help. With all my heart, God bless you always.
As Congress Stalls on Immigration Reform, Local Communities are Reaching Out to Welcome Immigrants
By Peter Jones – October 2, 2013
The South Metro Denver Chamber is among the business groups that joined a call last week for Colorado’s congressional delegation – particularly Republicans – to support comprehensive immigration legislation.
Business leaders representing such organizations as Colorado Concern, the Colorado Competitive Council, Colorado Forum and the Colorado Bioscience Association convened on Sept. 23 at Metro State University in Denver to release a letter that calls on U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner to support what the group calls “common-sense immigration reform.”
The missive signed by leaders in the technology, agriculture, tourism and other industry sectors said the reform bill should include an improved visa system.
An article from Denver Post’s YouHub by Erin McCann:
“So whats the deal with this immigration bill?
That was one question of many that U.S. Senator Michael Bennet fielded from immigrants pursuing American citizenship during a visit to the Littleton Immigrant Resource Center on Tuesday morning. The immigrants, who hailed from places as far away as El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, China, Guatemala, Syria and many others, quizzed the Senator on everything from the Farm Bill to the prospects of the House passing an immigration reform bill, while showing him the exercises such as Citizen Jeopardy and civics flashcards they use to help study for their citizenship exams.
Bennet was visiting the Center to highlight the work it does to integrate immigrants into the community.
About a decade ago, Littleton leaders recognized shifting demographics which included, among other things, an aging population and an uptick in foreign born residents and decided to proactively ensure that newcomers to the city were able to set down roots and truly become part of the community.
We became concerned that if we didnt reach out to new people, we could end up divided as a we/they community, former Littleton Mayor, Susan Thornton, a founding member of the current program, said.
That effort created what is now known as the Littleton Immigrant Resources Center, an award-winning program that helps immigrants connect with resources, work towards citizenship, learn English, and contribute civically and economically to the Littleton community. This year alone the program has served more than 100 students from 30 different countries.
To do this, the Center facilitates one-on-one mentoring pairs armed with a community volunteer cadre of roughly 80 residents and offers small group classes for immigrants to learn English and study for their citizenship exam.
During his visit, Bennet saw this in action, meeting with mentoring pairs like Ming Lin and her tutor Evelyn Bowman. Ming came to the United States nearly three decades ago and started participating in the program when she learned about it recently through a friend at church.
I came for the classes, Ming said. Im very fortunate, very blessed to have a tutor like Evelyn, she continued.
Weve only been doing this about six weeks, but we just have so much fun, Evelyn said of her partnership with Ming.
Bennet also stepped into one of the Centers small group citizenship classes, where students were practicing their civics knowledge with a game of Citizen Jeopardy, answering questions as varied as what state the Statue of Liberty was located in to the role of the Federalist Papers in the nations founding.
Bennet was visiting the program to highlight the importance of integrating immigrants into American communities. When immigrants successfully integrate into American communities, they add greater economic and civic value to places they live, Bennet said.
“By helping new immigrants connect with their neighbors, understand our laws and history, and learn the important rights and responsibilities of being an American, we build stronger more unified communities, Bennet said.
As a member of the Gang of 8 that wrote the immigration overhaul bill that passed the Senate earlier this summer, Bennet said he used the Littleton program, and similar efforts across the state, as national models for the integration provisions in the bill.
The immigration bill would create a competitive grant program to support such integration efforts by nonprofits and state and local governments. It would also expand the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office into an Office of Citizenship and New Americans to better coordinate federal and local integration strategies and it would create a Task Force on New Americans, comprised of leaders from key federal agencies, including the Departments of Labor, Commerce, Treasury, and Health and Human Services.
These are the types of grassroots, locally driven programs that we should be encouraging,” Bennet said.