Despite Claims That Immigrants Are a Drain, They Contributed $4.6 Billion to San Antonio's Economy in 2017

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Immigrants in San Antonio — including those here without documents — contributed $4.6 billion to the city's economy in 2017 and paid $1 billion into federal, state and local taxes, according to a study released Tuesday.

The report was compiled by New American Economy and Welcoming America, a pair of bipartisan organizations that advocate on immigration issues. The groups shared the data after selecting San Antonio for a competitive program that provides cities with research and planning help to integrate immigrants.

According to the research, foreign-born residents made up 30.3% of business owners in San Antonio during 2017, even though they only represented 13.5% of the overall population. What's more, immigrant households held 14.1% of the city's spending power, again exceeding their overall share of the population.

The numbers appear fly in the face of claims made by the Trump administration and others that immigrants are destroying American jobs, damaging its economy and creating a dangerous strain on government resources.

Kate Brick, director of state and local initiatives for New American Economy, said the report data was drawn from the U.S. Census, meaning its totals may even underplay the overall contributions of local immigrants, according to a KSAT report.

“We’re focusing primarily on why immigrants are so critical to the economic growth in the U.S.,” Brick added.

Even undocumented immigrants made a significant contribution to the local economy, according to the report. That segment contributed nearly a quarter of the $4.6 billion contribution that foreign-born residents made in SA. Undocumented immigrants also paid more than $114 million in federal, state and local taxes.

According to the research, the top countries of origin for San Antonio's immigrant population — and their corresponding percentage of the overall total — were:

1. Mexico: 64.8%
2. India: 4.4%
3. Philippines: 2.4%
4. Afghanistan: 1.6%
5. El Salvador: 1.6%

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