Auditor General DePasquale: Immigrants are more than economic contributors
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale spoke at the "I am an American Immigrant" reception.
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If anyone understands the economic contributions that immigrants make in Pennsylvania, it’s Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
As auditor general, DePasquale is Pennsylvania’s chief financial watchdog, working to ensure that the state’s tax dollars are spent legally and effectively. His office also determines whether state institutions and programs are running as efficiently as possible. DePasquale, a Democrat and Pittsburgh native, was elected auditor general in 2012 and is now serving his second term.
During his address at the I am an American Immigrant Reception, DePasquale affirmed that claims that suggest immigrants take advantage of the system and abuse government benefits are simply not true.
“I know the numbers,” the auditor general said. “The immigration community is supplying more tax revenue than they’re getting back in benefits. That’s just a numerical fact.”
DePasquale added that the economic growth Pennsylvania has been experiencing in the past four to five years has been fueled by small business growth, which the immigrant community in large part has been responsible for, especially in Southeast Pennsylvania.
But beyond the facts and economic numbers, the auditor general said that what is going on today in the national conversation on immigration is “a fight for the soul of what America stands for and what it believes” as this is a nation built by immigrants.
“We are all immigrants, with the exception of Native Americans, in some way, shape or form, and to me, that’s what makes this country so great,” said DePasquale, who shared stories about his family’s Italian and Irish background during his speech.
The auditor general said a “certain ugliness” is coming from the White House “that is trying to pit one American against the other,” adding that every great leader this country has ever had has united Americans behind a common cause rather than divide them.
“The greatness of America is defined by how we, as a collective whole, prosper as a nation, not as individuals,” DePasquale said. “It is the collective whole, all of us, all of us as immigrants, fighting for America, where every single person has the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
Despite the anti-immigrant rhetoric and regressive policies that are coming from the Trump administration, DePasquale is inspired by the number of Americans that are standing up and voicing their opposition against the commander-in-chief’s cruel agenda.
“While we cannot control what (the president) says or does, we can control how we react to it and what we do about it,” DePasquale said. “We can control that.”