Session Explores Initiatives to Maximize
Latino Contributions to and Participation in New Jersey’s Economy
PATERSON, NEW JERSEY – With New Jersey’s expanding Latino community playing a significant role in the economy and with several pivotal issues on the national and statewide policy agenda, New Start New Jersey hosted its “Latino Policy Forum: Immigration, Education and Employment.” The event took place at the New Jersey Community Development Corporation in Paterson.
In addition to remarks from New Start New Jersey’s Chairman and Co-Founder Philip D. Murphy and the organization’s Co-Founder Tammy Murphy, the session featured the insights from a panel of policy experts: Maria Heidkamp, the Director of the New Start Career Network, who focused on long-term unemployment; Johanna Calle, Program Coordinator of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, who explored the multiple facets of the immigration debate; and Diana Gonzalez, Graduate Student Representative of the Rutgers University Board of Trustees, who presented an analysis of higher education trends within the Latino community.
“We say at New Start New Jersey that as goes the middle class, so goes New Jersey,” said Philip D. Murphy. “We just as easily could say that as goes the Latino community, so goes New Jersey. Latinos already contribute nearly $50 billion to our state and only will continue to strengthen as a force, provided we support their further participation in our civic and economic life with such measures as identification and driver’s licenses.”
“From higher-education affordability to job creation, the issues we examine and promote at New Start New Jersey to strengthen the middle class naturally improve the lives of the Latino community, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of our state’s overall population,” said Tammy Murphy.
As noted by Philip D. Murphy, New Jersey’s Latino population is large and expanding, totaling approximately 1.8 million, the seventh-highest population in the nation. Latinos represent the fastest-growing group in the state, having increased from 9.6 percent of the population in 1990 to nearly 19 percent today. By 2029, Latinos will comprise over 22 percent of the New Jersey’s population.
Economically, New Jersey’s Latino community contributed $46 billion to the state’s economy in 2014, an increase of 415 percent since 1990. Latinos in New Jersey paid $4.8 billion in federal taxes and $2.7 billion in state and local taxes in 2013.
New Start New Jersey’s session occurred as a number of consequential debates continue to unfold on the national and state levels. The United States Supreme Court soon will decide on the matter of United States v. Texas
, which will determine the President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program that grants “deferred action” to illegal immigrants who are the parents of a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident. An estimated 200,000 residents of New Jersey are eligible for relief under the program.
Within the state, New Jersey continues weigh the provision of statewide identification and driver’s licenses to immigrants, regardless of status. While New Jersey currently allows individuals – regardless of status – to apply for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, the state has yet to extend eligibility for financial assistance to this these students.
The forum marked the fifth public session since New Start New Jersey’s launch in November 2014. The other events include: “A Policy Agenda for Strengthening New Jersey’s Middle Class” with the Center for American Progress; “New Jersey’s Advanced Industries: What They Are & Why They Matter” with the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program; the launch of the New Start Career Network with the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University; and “Building Bridges (Roads, Rail & Tunnels) to a Stronger Middle Class: Infrastructure Investments for New Jersey.”