Miami Has the Most Foreign-Born Workers in the Nation

Dear Miami: Think about this the next time you hear Lou Dobbs or Glenn Beck slobbering about the evils of immigration.

Almost half of Miami's workforce was born outside the U.S. of A. Take away Miami's immigrant workers and you're left with Tulsa by the Sea.

So says a new report issued this morning by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a New York think tank that found that 20 percent of our nation's GDP comes courtesy of folks born outside our borders.

That number is even higher in the Magic City. You can check out the full report here, but the institute found that 45 percent of Miami's labor force is foreign-born.

Unlike in a majority of other U.S. cities, Miami's immigrants fill a good percentage of pretty much every kind of job -- from more than 35 percent of executives to upward of 49 percent of mechanics.

There are two notable exceptions to our egalitarian melting pot, though: the good-old-boys clubs known as the police force and fire-rescue.

Somehow, in a town with nearly one of every two workers born abroad, the police and fire-rescue departments staff their forces with less than 30 percent immigrants. Now that's surprising.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink