Washington, D.C. -Today, Business Forward Foundation issued a report, We Are Not Full, highlighting the cost of President Trump’s immigration policies on Pennsylvania’s economy.

“President Trump argues that America is full – that we can’t handle any more immigrants,” said Jim Doyle, president of Business Forward Foundation. “Pennsylvania’s real problem is declining birth rates, a shrinking workforce, and small towns that are losing young workers to big cities.”

Pennsylvania is older than the national average, and it’s aging faster. Without a steady flow of new immigrants, Pennsylvania’s economy could fall into a reinforcing cycle of job losses, lower investment, and falling property values. Over time, an aging, shrinking population hurts schools, pensions, infrastructure, and economic opportunity.

“To appreciate just how dangerous Trump’s ‘we’re full’ approach could be, we should compare its impact to immigration reform proposals that national business groups have offered,” explained Doyle. “A balanced approach to immigration proposed by the Business Roundtable would grow Pennsylvania’s economy by $30 billion over ten years, while ‘restrictive’ policies could cost Pennsylvania $17 billion over that same period. That’s a swing of $47 billion.”

The report’s key findings include:

  • Pennsylvania is the 7th oldest state in the country, and minors will outnumber seniors before 2035.
  • Pennsylvania currently ranks 48th in the nation in business dynamism, a measure that reflects the rate of new business formation and frequency of labor market turnover.
  • Immigrants contribute a net $1.9 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy through tax and income contributions less the cost of public services.
  • Pennsylvania has a shortage of doctors that will only get worse as the population ages. Immigrants, who represent 6% of the state’s population but 26% of its physicians and surgeons, can help close the health care labor gap.
  • There are more than 57,000 immigrant entrepreneurs across the state and they have created 189,000 new jobs.
  • A balanced approach to immigration would create 302,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania, while restrictive policies could cost the state 181,000 jobs – a difference of 483,000 jobs.



The Business Forward Foundation is an independent research and education organization that takes a business-minded look at policy issues affecting America’s economic competitiveness. Our work combines insights and advice from business leaders across the country with rigorous policy analysis. Through white papers, issue briefs, conference calls, and other events, we educate policy makers and the public about climate change, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, the future of work, and other critical issues.