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Report: About a third of Virginia farm workers are immigrants

virginiaVirginia Farm Bureau Federation leaders say new data emphasizes the contributions of immigrants to Virginia agriculture and the need for immigration reform.

New American Economy, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, has released a mapping of the impact of immigrants in all 50 states, all 435 Congressional districts and 50 metropolitan areas—including the greater Richmond area. “Map the Impact” at maptheimpact.org features sector-specific data and quantifies every locality’s foreign-born population, tax contributions, spending power, home ownership and voting power.

New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans. NAE members represent more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy.

In Virginia, NAE found the following:

  • There are more than 1 million foreign-born residents in the state.
  • In 2014, foreign-born Virginia residents earned $36.5 billion, paid $9.4 billion in state and local taxes and held $27.1 billion in spending power.
  • The agriculture sector contributes $2 billion to Virginia’s gross domestic product.
  • Immigrants make up 32 percent of farm workers in Virginia.
  • For the 24.6 percent of Virginia farms that grow fruits and vegetables, the current labor picture is shrinking. Between 2002 and 2014, the number of field and crop workers in Virginia and North Carolina decreased by 13.4 percent.

Additional information is available at newamericaneconomy.org.

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