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Immigration reform could impact local economy

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Immigration reform is making its way through Congress, and the North Carolina AFL-CIO is taking notice. The union workers’ group held a news conference in Raleigh recently to talk about their support for immigration reform.
A well-known, but unfortunate phenomenon known as “brain drain” could be impacting the local economy. Brain drain means that immigrants with advanced degrees often have to leave after graduating when it’s time to look for jobs because of immigration laws. And they take their talents with them.

Director of UNCW’s Centro Hispano Edelmira Segovia says that she supports immigration reform because of its economic benefits.

“Here we have a population that could really be contributing with, with innovation, with talents, with new ideas to move our economy forward, uh, yet, there’s so many different, uh, hurdles that they must go through. Or maybe even not having a possibility of staying in the country legally to actually practice in their field.”

Segovia continued, “North Carolina is definitely is going to be positively impacted if immigration reform goes through. I definitely see more students again, building their craft, and looking into professional fields and seeking to serve the community in high, again high service areas such as education, health, law enforcement.”

The 2010 Census found that immigrants make up 7.5 percent of North Carolina’s population, while 1 in 10 residents are Latinos or Asians.

UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School did a study in 2006 on the economic impact of Hispanics in North Carolina.  The findings show that in the early 2000s, Hispanic students made up 57 percent of total growth in public schools statewide.

Jessica is a junior at UNCW pursuing a B.A. in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She worked on an audio project similar to NPR's StoryCorps over the summer where she interviewed mentors and their mentees on the UNCW campus. This project inspired her to work more with public radio and the media. She is also a contributing writer for the school's newspaper, The Seahawk. Jessica loves her job as a resident assistant, trying out new restaurants, working out so she can keep eating at new restaurants, and bringing news to the community.