The Tri-Cities Immigrant Coalition is working to provide opportunities for citizens of the Tri-Cities to get to know our immigrant neighbors and discuss immigration issues.
One of our planned activities are some public forums. The first is at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Benton PUD Auditorium, 2721 W. 10th Ave. in Kennewick.
The focus will be the impact of immigration on our local economy.
A study published in 2017 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that immigration results in a boost to the U.S. economy.
However, every American community is different. How does immigration affect our economy? Experts representing the farming sector, small businesses and research and education institutions will present information and take audience questions. Please join us.
Americans don’t always feel comfortable around people from other countries who may look different, speak different languages, practice different religions, and whose cultures aren’t like ours. We love our way of life, and these differences can seem threatening.
The coalition recognizes that our community changes when people from different parts of the world move here. Resistance to these changes is nothing new; concerns about immigration have occurred throughout our history.
As has always happened, after we get to know immigrants, we realize that they are not so very different from us, and we feel less threatened and more accepting. We find we still live in safe neighborhoods, send our children to good schools, work in fulfilling jobs and enjoy the rights the U.S. guarantees.
Immigrants come to the U.S. because it is a great country. They seek freedom from poverty, violence and oppression; and they come here to reunite with family.
They want to provide better lives for their children, and they want to live the American Dream. However, it’s not just people born in foreign countries who benefit when they move to the U.S. We benefit too.
Immigrants often fill manual labor jobs in farming, construction and the service industry that Americans don’t want to do. Or, they work in tech, research or other industries where we don’t have enough qualified Americans to fill positions.
Additionally — and we will discuss at the forum — as more Baby Boomers retire, there will not be enough native-born workers to fill the jobs created by a growing economy.
This is especially true for low-wage jobs. In fact, we will talk about how our local economy has already suffered because there is currently a farming labor shortage. Some farmers in the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas were not able to harvest their crops this past season because they weren’t able to hire enough workers.
We’ll discuss immigration and farming at greater depth on January 23, and we’ll talk about impacts of immigration on other sectors of our economy as well. We hope you will be part of this conversation.
Sonnichsen has been the Media and Communication Co-Chair of TCIC since last summer, when the group was formed. TCIC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the public with factual information to seek equitable solutions to immigration issues. To schedule a presentation for your group, to discuss any aspect of immigration with us, or for more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.