Washington, D.C. — Today, Business Forward Foundation issued a report, Wisconsin Is Not Full, highlighting the cost of President Trump’s immigration policies on Wisconsin’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. “Wisconsin’s real problem is declining birth rates, a shrinking workforce, and small towns that are losing young workers to big cities.”

Wisconsin is older than the national average, and it’s aging faster. Without a steady flow of new immigrants, Wisconsin’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 Wisconsin’s economy by $8.2 billion over ten years, while ‘restrictive’ policies could cost Wisconsin $7.2 billion over that same period. That’s a swing of $15.4 billion.”

The report’s key facts include:

  • Wisconsin is the 15th oldest state in the country, and minors will outnumber seniors by 2030.
  • Wisconsin currently ranks 44th 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 $696 million to Wisconsin’s economy through tax and income contributions less the cost of public services.
  • From 2018 to 2035, supply of primary care doctors will increase by 3.8% while demand will increase by 20.9% statewide. Immigrants, who represent 5% of the state’s population but 23% of its physicians and surgeons, can help close the health care labor gap.
  • There are more than 11,000 immigrant entrepreneurs across the state and they have created 55,000 new jobs.
  • A balanced approach to immigration would create 90,000 new jobs in Wisconsin, while restrictive policies could cost the state 84,000 jobs – a difference of 174,000 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.