Real estate and agriculture entrepreneurs came together with the Chief of Police of the Town of Chapel Hill and a North Carolina Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient in a virtual roundtable discussing the benefits immigration reform would have in N.C. on May 26.

Each panelist, representing some of North Carolina’s most important industries and essential workers, shared their unique perspectives on the impact immigrants make across the state.

North Carolina’s 865,000 immigrant residents make up more than 8% of the total population and 11.2% of the state’s essential workforce. Immigrants are working more than 23 million jobs across the country — and 150,000 in North Carolina — deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of North Carolina’s immigrants, a DACA recipient and legal assistant from Durham, joined the conversation to explain the role of immigrants in the national recovery effort.

The panel was moderated by Tommy Luckadoo, the vice president of Adams Commercial Real Estate. While their industries and backgrounds are diverse, the message all speakers had to share was united: immigrants are a crucial part of our state and meaningful immigration reform could help everyone in North Carolina by unleashing the state’s growing economy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that half of all farm hands in the country are undocumented. In North Carolina, the agriculture industry is responsible for 17% of all jobs in the state and more than $91 billion added to the economy. Allan Baucom, of Union County, a farmer and president of the A.L. Baucom Company, Inc., explained that immigrants support farmers across the state.