8 The Danger of Devaluing Immigrants creating jobs and supporting the travel and tourism industry. In the next three years, 80 percent of new jobs in hospitality are projected to require no college education. The industry will need even more immigrants to fill these positions since native-born Americans tend to choose jobs that provide bet- ter compensation and require greater skills. Building America Immigrants in Construction The construction industry is cyclical and seasonal. Construction is yet another industry that regularly faces a serious worker shortage. Since 2019, that shortage has been estimated at 434,000 unfilled positions. Immigrants accounted for 24 percent of all construction workers in 2016 and about half of workers in the fields of plastering and stucco masonry, painting and paper- hanging, and drywall and ceiling installation. Without immigrant labor, the industry would face significant capacity issues. In California and Texas, the overall share of immigrants in construction was over 40 percent. With more immigrant workers, construction firms could fill their vacancies and con- struct buildings for essential sectors across our economy, from hospitals to manufacturing plants, in a more expeditious and economical manner. Immigrants in Manufacturing Immigrants have always been an essential part of traditional manufactur- ing in the United States, from steel and automobile manufacturing to the garment industry, and the American manufacturing sector continues to rely on immigrant labor. Today in the garment manufacturing industry, for example, more than half of sewing machine operators and materials pressers are foreign born. Immigrants fill vacant positions and revitalize the aging and retiring manufacturing workforce. For a range of occupations and prod- ucts, the importance of immigrants in manufacturing is paramount to rebuilding and expanding the manufacturing sector in the old industrial regions of the United States. For instance, manufacturing firms in the Great Lakes region create more jobs than the current native population can fill. Keeping America Safe and Defending America In the military, in government, and in law enforcement, immigrants have dedicated themselves to keeping America safe, and their service in defense of the country can be traced back to the American Civil War, when one-quarter of Union soldiers were born outside of the United States. Immigrants then and since have made the ultimate sacrifice for the defense of our democracy
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