New report shows AZ economy relies on illegal immigration

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A new report published this week shows Arizona's economy relies on illegal immigration.

The New American Economy, a bipartisan group of 500 mayors and business owners, estimates there are nearly 284,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state.

Combined, they pumped $3.1 billion into the economy and paid nearly $390 million in local, state and federal taxes.

For immigration activists like Rep. Tony Navarrete, a Democrat from Phoenix, the numbers show how important migrants are to Arizona, but also make a strong case for immigration reform.

"We have to provide some type of reform so that we are no longer pushing our families off to the sidelines and only using them for their labor," he said Tuesday.

That is unlikely to happen under President Donald Trump.

Since taking office in January, the administration has made it a point to clamp down on illegal immigrants.  

However, one of the state's top business leaders is hopeful the administration can stream the work permit process so farms near the border can hire enough help to run their business.

"What happens when you can't attract those workers? I tell you what happens, these farms go out of business and they relocate to other places such as Mexico," said Glenn Hamer, the president and CEO of Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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