New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition
Summer, 2021
News and Views
Pursuing Bipartisan and Evidence-Based Immigration Reform
People from the diocese of Trenton, N.J., applaud during a Justice for Immigrants Mass
at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral in Trenton. (CNS/The Monitor/Joe Moore)

Report Released on the Impact of

Immigration in Mercer County

A new report commissioned by the Coalition in partnership with the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mercer County Office of Economic Development, underscores the critical role immigrants play in the County’s labor force, business creation, and STEM innovation. Prepared by New American Economy, the report was unveiled at the July 1 virtual membership meeting of the Princeton Chamber. Between 2014 and 2019 the Mercer County population decreased by 0.4 percent, while the immigrant population grew by 9.8 percent. Without growth in the immigrant population, the total population in Mercer County would have decreased even more, by 2.5 percent. In 2019 alone, immigrants in Mercer County held $2.8 billion in spending power, and paid over $916 million in federal taxes and $415 million in state and local taxes. Despite making up 23.1 percent of the area’s overall population, immigrants represent 43.4 percent of construction workers, 43.2 percent of manufacturing workers, and 39.3 percent of professional service workers. Joining Chamber and NJBIC members at the event, and offering comments on the report, were County Executive Brian Hughes, New American Economy Executive Director Jeremy Robbins, and Dr. Jianping Wang, President of Mercer County Community College. You can watch a video of the event at this link.
Afghan Refugees and
SIV Holders
Arrive in New Jersey
New Jersey is once again reliving its history as a staging area for newly arrived refugees. As happened with Hungarian refugees in the fifties and with ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo in the nineties, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will serve as one of four staging areas in the country for Afghans admitted either as refugees or special immigrant visas holders (SIVs). The base will be equipped to process as many as 9,500 refugees. Most will move on to other states after initial processing. A small number will remain in New Jersey under sponsorship of local resettlement organizations: the International Rescue Committee in Elizabeth, Interfaith Rise in Highland Park, and Church World Service in Jersey City.
These agencies work to find housing, furnish apartments, and attend to the initial needs of refugees. Their work is supported by donations of goods, services, and funds by hundreds of volunteers. An important goal of the resettlement effort will be to help refugees achieve self-sufficiency as quickly as possible. Employers willing to hire qualified refugees are encouraged to get in touch with their local resettlement agencies.
Governor Murphy has also set up an Afghan Refugee Assistance Task Force, headed up by Dr. Lisa Hou, an Afghan veteran and current commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, to coordinate the state’s resettlement efforts. Religious congregations, such as the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton, are many Catholic churches are mobilizing to help the refugees. Several municipalities, including Jersey City and Montclair, have indicated their willingness to welcome Afghan refugees into their communities.
Helping with the resettlement effort seems to enjoy wide bipartisan support. The latest version of SIV legislation passed with strong support on both sides of the aisle. Going back in time, the Senate unanimously passed the legislation creating the current U.S. refugee resettlement program in 1980.
A virtual briefing on the New Jersey resettlement effort, sponsored by CAIR-NJ, will be held on Tuesday, August 31, at 6:30 pm.
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Setting the Record Straight on Optional Practical Training
Why Rural America Needs Immigrants
House Immigration Chair Warns U.S. Is Losing Talent to Canada
Future Scenarios for Global Mobility in a
Post-Pandemic World
A new report from the Migration Policy Institute, written with support from the International Organization for Migration, lays out four possible future scenarios for global mobility in a post-pandemic world.
In Scenario 1 (Pandemic Proofing), the pandemic will become “a 9/11 moment for borders and mobility, with public health decisively shaping decisions on whom to let into a country in much the same way as security considerations did in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.”
In Scenario 2 (Mobility with Friends), global cooperation remains an elusive goal, while regional travel “bubbles” become the norm.
In Scenario 3 (Chaos and Fragmentation), nation-states continue to experiment with unilateral approaches but little progress is made on reaching global standards and procedures resulting in continued clogged mobility channels.
In Scenario 4 (Pre-Pandemic Status Quo), as the pandemic fizzles out (hopefully by 2023), governments seek to derive benefit from fully opening up to international tourists and migrants, yet lingering concerns about future pandemics continue to cast a shadow.
The author goes into detail on each of these outcomes, including the pros and cons of an internationally recognized vaccination certificate. She concludes, “COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for governments on the importance of having clear and well-thought-out systems to adapt to the outbreak and spread of disease.” In developing these systems, however, governments should resist the political temptation to use migrants as scapegoats in future health crises.
Recognizing New Jersey’s Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Last Call for Nominations
The NJ Business Immigration Coalition welcomes nominations for its 9th annual Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year awards competition.
Immigrant business activity has been a powerful engine of the New Jersey economy. According to a recent paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, immigrants establish firms of all sizes and create job opportunities for all Americans. Indeed, immigrants founded ten of the 18 Fortune 500 firms headquartered in New Jersey, employing over 1 million people.
Our partner for this year’s competition is the New Jersey Chinese American Chamber of Commerce. Award recipients will be announced at the Chamber’s annual gala on November 18. We confer awards in six categories: growth, advocacy, innovation, nonprofit entrepreneurship, rising star, and entrepreneur of the year. Detailed information about the various categories may be found at this link.
If you know of someone deserving of one of these awards, please take the time to submit a nomination form. Immigrants may also nominate themselves. Nominations must be submitted no later than September 15.
About 100,000 employment-based green cards are at risk of going unused (and expiring on September 30) due to application backlogs exacerbated by COVID-19. Many applicants are Asian Indians working in the tech sector.
Click here for more information
According to a new international public opinion survey, Canada has replaced the U.S. as the top destination for foreign workers.
Click here for more information
There are over 23,000 international students in New Jersey, most of whom are self-supporting. They contribute over $800 million to the state economy and support over 9,000 jobs.
Click here for more information
Despite these large numbers, New Jersey ranks only 15th among states in the number of international students. The state, however, ranks 4th in the number of international students engaged in the post-graduation Optional Practical Training (OPT) program (15,396).
Click here for more information
The percentage of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for 15 years or more increased from 25% to 43% between 2010 and 2019.
Click here for more information
GET INVOLVED: We want to hear from you!
  • Check out our policy platform here and if your company or organization (or you as an individual) agrees with our principles for immigration reform, sign up as a member of the coalition.
  • Share your thoughts on the immigration reform challenges facing the United States. How is your industry affected? What specific reform proposals are you championing? Write us at:
The New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition,
c/o Einstein’s Alley, P.O. Box 165, Plainsboro NJ 08536,