SuperTalk Mississippi

Reason for Reform Campaign highlights new data

JACKSON, Miss.- Leaders gathered at Mississippi Farm Bureau in Jackson to discuss data for a new national campaign called Reason for Reform on Wednesday.

Reason for Reform is a campaign that brings together state business, civic, and cultural leaders to push congress for a change in immigration reform. With new data on foreign born-populations in Mississippi along with their tax contributions, spending power, and role in Mississippi industries, the New American Economy and Mississippi Farm Bureau have launched a new mobile tool to allow users to make videos telling their Reason for Reform.

Speakers at the Mississippi Day of Action conference included Mike McCormick, President of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation; Joel Bomgar, State Representative and founder and former CEO & Chairman technology company Bomgar Corporation; and Mike Cashions, Executive Director of Mississippi Restaurant and Hospitality Association.

Immigrants make up 2.1 percent of the state’s population. That puts their financial contributions to the state economy at over $357.7 million in taxes for 2014.

“We have two choices. We are going to have to either import labor or import food,” said McCormick. “Migrant workers are a vital part of Mississippi’s economy, and they help ensure agribusiness remains the backbone of the state economy.”

There are over 63,000 immigrants living in Mississippi. The New American Economy reports that about 6,000 are self-employed and over 17,500 are employed at firms owned by immigrants. Those numbers created almost $81.6 million in revenue in 2014.

If all 868 Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) for high-skilled workers were turned into visas in 2014, 1,588 jobs would have been created in Mississippi.

“We’ve put so many hurdles in their way that so often we just have to send them back to their county of origin,” said Bomgar.”We need that labor, we need that skill set here.”

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