As Donald Trump's aggressive rhetoric toward immigrants intensifies, U.S. Latinos grow increasingly worried about the possibility of mass deportations regardless of legal status. AFP

Recent data has shown that immigrants in New Jersey are participating in the labor force at higher rates than local residents, challenging the misconception that they are a burden on their host country.

According to the data released by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University, immigrants recorded 18.1% of the United States workforce, often filling jobs in areas with major labor shortages like health care and social services.

Furthermore, a higher percentage of foreign-born workers (65.9%) are either working or looking for work compared to native-born workers (61.5%). Foreign-born refers to people who are not born in the United States, including naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents, temporary migrants or refugees, and unauthorized migrants.

Stockton Professor of Economics Ramya Devan and Stockton economics student Madison Giusti compiled this data after analyzing trends from 2022, and revealed that nearly 30% of the foreign-born workers are associated with the New Jersey labor force.

Hudson, Middlesex and Union counties rely heavily on immigrant workers, who make up over 40% of their workforce. Across New Jersey, more foreign-born workers (69.9%) are either working or looking for work compared to native-born workers (64.7%).

As per the data, this trend was seen in 16 of the 18 New Jersey counties.

Mercer County has a huge gap, with foreign-born workers participating 14 percentage points more than native-born workers, and Atlantic County has a 10 percentage point gap. In Hudson, Hunterdon and Middlesex counties, many foreign-born workers are software developers.

"Contrary to the negative perceptions around immigration and its impact on the economy, actual labor market trends suggest it's a boon. The data shows that immigrant workers are vital to the New Jersey workforce," Devan said, Stockton reported.

Software developers, registered nurses, construction laborers, maids, janitors, teachers, retail salespersons, drivers and cooks are some of the most common jobs foreign-born workers do in New Jersey.

The software sector created 306,605 jobs in New Jersey and contributed $26.3 billion to the state's GDP, as per the BSA Foundation report from 2018 to 2020. Moreover, there were over 26,000 foreign-born nurses and nursing assistants in New Jersey, providing essential care services across various counties.

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