How the Fashion Industry is Fighting Trump’s Immigration Policies – Vanity Fair
The fashion industry has been responding to Donald Trump’s political policies through protest T-shirts, buttons, donations, and now, hopefully, through legislation. On Monday morning, FWD.us and the Council of Fashion Designers of America held a press conference, which included speakers like Diane von Furstenberg and New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to discuss their report on immigration and the fashion industry. The report highlighted the devastating impact deportation would have on the industry, the third largest in New York, as well as the country’s job growth and economy. According to the report, the fashion industry in New York City employs 180,000 people throughout 900 different companies, which in total generates over $10 billion in wages.
“I left Europe and arrived in New York with a baby in my belly and a suitcase full of little dresses made in Italy. With these dresses I lived an American dream,” von Furstenberg told a group of reporters and designers. “Young people from all over the world come to America in search of those same opportunities, and young people with limitless talent and potential will continue building and innovating in our industry as long as we put in place immigration policies that allow the U.S. to remain a magnet for them.”
Maloney spoke of her hope to not only expand on the current work visas in place, but to create a visa allowing entrepreneurs to come to the United States to build companies and create jobs. “Our fashion sector employs 180,000 people and generates $11 billion in wages every year. This industry depends on immigrants who bring their innovative designs and talents to New York City,” she said.
While New York has a high concentration of both immigrants and fashion-industry employees, Maloney noted that there are fashion hubs throughout the country, making Capitol Hill the next step in the industry’s fight for immigration reform. The report mentions two pieces of legislation, the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act and the Recognizing America’s Children Act. If passed, both acts will make it easier for immigrants to work and study in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
The report ends with three recommendations to lawmakers: Retain foreign students, improve access to foreign talent, and provide a pathway for the undocumented community, adding their belief that “these reforms will encourage entrepreneurship, create more American jobs, strengthen the American middle class, and grow the United States’ economy.” If Donald Trump is as big a fan of American jobs as he says, maybe he’ll listen.