The George W. Bush Presidential Center today hosted “What Immigrants Contribute,” a special event highlighting the opportunity for economic growth through immigration reform. The event included a naturalization ceremony for 20 new American citizens and panel discussions with noted scholars and business leaders about immigration and its positive impact on the U.S. economy.
"Our generation must ensure that America remains a beacon of liberty and the most hopeful society the world has ever known," said President George W. Bush at the naturalization ceremony. "We must always be proud to welcome people as fellow Americans. Our new immigrants are just what they've always been -- people willing to risk everything for the dream of freedom. America remains what she has always been: a great hope on the horizon, a blessed and promised land. We honor the heritage of all who come here, no matter where they come from, because we trust in our country's genius for making us all Americans -- one nation under God."
The 4% Growth Project, an initiative of the George W. Bush Institute, has identified immigration as a key area where market-oriented policy reform promises stronger economic growth. Data shows that immigrants have higher labor force participation, have contributed significantly to the growth of the U.S. labor force, and are more likely than native-born citizens to start new businesses. In December, The 4% Growth Project partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas to host the conference “How Immigrants Grow the U.S. Economy.” Today’s event, sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York and Knight Foundation, further highlighted the contributions immigrants make to our country and our economy.
“Immigrants can provide the strong economic growth to assure America's future,” said Amity Shlaes, Director of The 4% Growth Project. “Preoccupied with politics, we forget that the story of immigration is one of economics and hope. The business of the Bush Center is to make that clear.”
Three moderated panel discussions followed the naturalization ceremony. The first panel featured leading economists who examined specifically how immigrants have helped drive the strong growth of the Texas economy and what lessons other states might learn from the Texas experience. The panel was moderated by Matthew Denhart, a Bush Institute research fellow and author of the Institute’s book Growth and Immigration: A Handbook of Vital Immigration and Economic Growth Statistics.
The second panel highlighted economic evidence that shows when immigrants naturalize, they tend to have higher employment, greater earnings and are less likely to be in poverty. The third panel emphasized that becoming an American citizen carries along with it great responsibilities, and a group of military and local leaders highlighted how immigrants have historically met this call to service.
Following the panels, Ambassador James Glassman, founding Executive Director of the Bush Institute, delivered concluding remarks.
About The 4% Growth Project
The 4% Growth Project is a Bush Institute initiative that seeks to communicate the value of sustained GDP growth of four percent annually, a level that will ensure Americans better jobs and lower debt, and vastly increase opportunity and prosperity. Directed by Amity Shlaes, a Bush Institute senior fellow and author of the New York Times bestsellers Coolidge, The Forgotten Man and The Greedy Hand, the project aims to change the economic conversation in America to focus on all the areas where policy affects growth, from immigration to the environment. It also works to spur research and develop initiatives that will help accelerate America’s economic growth. While aggressive, four percent growth is an attainable milestone that America has achieved numerous times in the recent past.
About the George W. Bush Presidential Center
The George W. Bush Presidential Center is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which is operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, and the George W. Bush Institute. The Bush Institute, founded by President and Mrs. Bush in 2009, is a public policy center with the mission of advancing freedom by expanding opportunities for individuals at home and abroad. The work of the Bush Institute is inspired by the principles that guided the Bushes in public life. The Bush Center complex is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and also includes a 15-acre park, a full-service restaurant, Café 43, and a museum store. To learn more about the Bush Center, please visit www.bushcenter.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.