The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - 91

I M M I G R AT I O N E C O N O M I C S

Growing
Contributions

1990

2000

2013

Immigrant share of Virginia's population,
labor force, small business ownership and
Main Street business ownership

35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%

Immigrant share of total
population

Immigrant share
of labor force

Immigrant share of small
business owners

Immigrant share of Main
Street Business owners

SOURCE: FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE ANALYSIS OF 2013 ACS DATA

"If you give an immigrant a
house, they'll fix up the main
floor, put their business there,
and live in the basement,"
Lutjen says. "An American
would spend money on the main
floor and live there, and put
their business in the basement.
Their definition of what you
'have to have' to live is different."
TheRoanoker.com

speakers. His employer at Sake House encouraged customers
to engage him in conversation.
"I'm still learning," he smiles, 27 years later. "It's a difficult
language."
Although actual dollar figures aren't available for the
economic impact of immigrant-owned businesses in Roanoke,
there are estimates of national impact. These estimates can
vary widely from one organization to another. For example,
the Center for American Progress estimates that eliminating
workers and business owners from three countries - El
Salvador, Haiti and Honduras - could negatively impact the
U.S. economy to the tune of $160 billion over ten years. The
Immigrant Legal Resource Center puts that figure at $45
billion, also estimating a loss of $7 billion to Medicare and
Social Security.
"I work all the time, six days a week, 96 hours," says Cruz.
"Sunday, I come in and prepare for the week." Even after nearly
30 years of living, working and starting a family in the U.S., he
retains the air of someone who can't believe his good fortune.
"In Honduras, everything was hard," he says. "Here, you see
the opportunity you would never have otherwise." I
MAY/JUNE 2019

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The Roanoker - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - May/June 2019

The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - Intro
The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - Cover1
The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - Cover2
The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - 3
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The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - Cover3
The Roanoker - May/June 2019 - Cover4
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