The duo was joined by Flushing Councilman Peter Koo and employees of S&L Aerospace Metals, LLC., a 102-employee company that has an 85 percent immigrant workforce, according to Executive Vice President Ted Varvatsas.
Liu was deeply impressed by what he saw during a tour of S&L’s Flushing-based facilities, where metal parts for commercial, regional and military aircrafts are manufactured.
“It’s an incredible sight what we have here, that we have a company that primarily employs immigrants from China, from Poland, from Vietnam, from Germany, from South American nations," said Liu, "and they’re here making the components that in fact help defend the American way of life, our freedom and democracy that these immigrants came to the United States to pursue in the first place.”
DiNapoli put things into perspective, mentioning that the neighborhood of Flushing/Whitestone is in the list of ten neighborhoods with the highest concentration of immigrants, and a 2010 report released by his office indicates that from 2000 to 2007, those ten neighborhoods experienced stronger economic growth than the rest of the City.
He said that because those neighborhoods were so stable prior to the economic downturn, they would be able to weather the situation more effectively than the rest of the city. "As we slowly start to recover you’ll be able to come out of it more quickly as well,” he said.
DiNapoli also highlighted citywide findings from the report, titled “The Role of Immigrants in the New York City Economy.”
Census data shows that in 2008, immigrants represented 43 percent of the city’s workforce. They accounted for $215 billion in economic activity, nearly a third of the gross city product. He pointed out that in times of high stress, challenge and anxiety like the present, people tend to look for scapegoats and sources of blame.
“Too often, the immigrant contributions are not quantified and not being celebrated as they should be celebrated, and that’s really the point of this report,” said DiNapoli.
To obtain a copy of the report, visit www.osc.state.ny.us, call (212) 681-4840 or write to Office of the State Comptroller, New York City Public Information Office, 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017.