Welcoming Contributions of New Americans on Citizenship Day
On September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by the freshly minted citizens of a newly formed nation. Now celebrated as Citizenship Day, it’s a perfect day to reflect on what it means to be an American citizen to those who continue to join and build this country.
In my own experience and through many others’ I have met, immigrants have a deep appreciation of this country as they earn their status as American citizens. Making the difficult decision to leave family and home, these intrepid workers navigate a whole new culture, government, business system, and often, a new language to realize their dreams of building a new life. The sheer determination needed to start over in a new country breeds a unique pride in becoming an American citizen.
- Building a better life for themselves often translates into building a better economy for all of us:
- Nationally, immigrants are 28 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs than native-born citizens.
- 45% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children, many of these are our nation’s leading tech companies.
- 1682 immigrant entrepreneurs have launched businesses in eastern CT.
- 19.2% of foreign-born residents in eastern CT have graduate degrees, important for tech sector growth.
- Immigrants represent $1.3 billion in spending power in our region; and they contribute $173.8 million in state and local taxes, and $372.3 million in federal taxes.
Eastern CT is stronger and better because we have welcomed immigrants as business owners, coworkers, students and neighbors. On Citizenship Day this year, I would like to hold up the contributions made by our newest citizens as inspiration as well as express appreciation for all the ways they enrich our society. The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut proudly operates an Immigrant Resource Center to support foreign-born entrepreneurs and professionals in our region.
President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT