Wyoming and the cost of Immigration- Part 2

Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 11:29 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - During the pandemic, the U.S. saw “The Great Resignation” and “The Great Labor Reshuffle.” In 2021, 47 million Americans quit their jobs.

But the labor and workforce shortage continues many workers look for a better work-life balance and higher salaries.

So where does that leave the labor and service industry, and where does that leave Wyoming?

Over the last three years, the U.S. saw a mass exodus from service and labor jobs. As inflation, union debates, and layoffs threaten more jobs; there remains a continued job gap the “back to normal” post-pandemic era has yet to fill.

As we watch our neighboring southern states deal with the border crisis, many wonder what can be done to help.

Immigration in Wyoming has had a rocky past.

“Governor Mead expressed an interest in setting up a state program, and then there was a backlash from certain segments that, as I said, claimed a lot of horrible things would happen without much evidence,” said Jerry Fowler. Assistant Professor of the College of Law- Immigration at the University of Wyoming.

According to Fowler, that hostility has grown nationally for unauthorized immigration to authorized immigration.

“Which has kind of been the backbone of our economy and economic growth,” said Fowler.

”People dont realize how much people in the rigs are immigrants, how many immigrants, how many immigrants work on ranches on farms. They don’t realize how much immigrants support Wyoming. If we are more opening and welcoming to immigrants, our state wont dwindle away to where our population is nothing. It’ll keep our state alive,” said Antonio Serrano, Advocacy Director ACLU Wyoming.

According to California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research, if the U.S.’s Latino workforce population were its own country, its GDP would be the fifth largest in the world. Outperforming the UK, India or France.

“There are a lot of economic reasons to welcome more immigrants in terms of the future and competing with China. That’s a tremendous advantage that we have. That people want to come here and help grow our economy, and not that very many people want to go to China,” said Fowler.

Although there are many pluses, resistance continues.

“One thing that always kind of interests me is a lot of people who are very vociferously opposed to immigration are themselves descendants of immigrants,” said Fowler.

Fowler says that either way, immigration is going to cost us. Whether that cost will be to keep people out or to vet immigrants and bring them in. Only one will help make our country richer.

For more information on know your rights ACLU Wyoming.