Immigration has remained a thorny issue in the United States politics and economy. Several factors have been reported to fuel immigration to the U.S. The leading cause of immigration to the U.S. is the immigrants need to lead better lives. This is because, in most cases, immigrants come from countries with low per capita income. Specifically, there is a negative relationship between per capita income and immigration. Other factors that have helped increase the inflow of migrants to the U.S. include political instability, the need for better educational opportunities, wars, proximity to the U.S., and high wages and incomes that characterize the U.S.s jobs. The U.S. population is sharply divided in this debate. Those opposed to immigration often argue that immigration has led to job losses and is also a threat to their culture. However, immigration has been found to result in many economic benefits key to the growth of the U.S. economy. The positive effects of immigration on the U.S. economy include reversal of unemployment, the establishment of new businesses, increased innovation, increased tax base, reduced job shortages, improve the wages, and increase in overall productivity of workers.
Opponents of immigration cite various reasons to advance their argument that the U.S. government should put in place stringent measures aimed at curbing the inflow of citizens from other countries. One of the arguments frequently employed by anti-immigrants is that immigrants take away jobs from native citizens, leading to layoffs and increased unemployment. I totally disagree with this position because compelling evidence shows the exact opposite. Contrary to the widely held believe that migrants steal our jobs, immigrants have helped reverse the unemployment trend and spur the growth of the U.S. economy in many ways. First, immigration has helped grow the economy through new businesses that have been created by migrants. Specifically, estimates show that migrants added 28% of all new businesses to the U.S. economy in 2011 alone (Hesson). Additionally, migrants are responsible for 33% of internationally valid patents which are critical to innovation. Such innovations have resulted in the development of various technology products which are exported or locally consumed. Moreover, research conducted by the Kauffman Foundation show that 40% of technology start-ups in Silicon Valley were attributed to immigrant founders (Hesson). Therefore, the input of the immigrant in the technology industry, a sector critical for the growth of the economy, cannot be ignored. Because of this, I believe more, and more of this great talents should be encouraged to flow into our economy, contrary to anti-immigrants wish.
Similarly, in disagreement with the belief that foreign-born workers are concentrated in low-skilled occupations alone, Orrenius explains that immigrants moved into high technology jobs during the era of the internet boom. The increased high-skilled immigration, a popular trend that began in the 1990s has been associated with increased rates of innovation particularly the high rates of patents among the immigrant population. Increased innovation has been proved to be beneficial to the natives too. There are high levels of innovation among the immigrants compared to the American-born workers because most of the immigrants work in STEM jobs, characterized by a lot of research work and entrepreneurial activity. For instance, evidence shows that 44 percent of medical scientists are immigrants. Additionally, 42 percent of computer software developers are not natives. Moreover, foreign-born workers make the majority of college professors, doctors, nurses, mathematicians, and engineers. Because of their presence in this important fields, its hard to delink immigrants from increased GDP and accelerated economic growth. Because of this, I believe more doors should be opened for foreign-born talent to flow into the U.S. if the sustained positive economic growth is to be realized over the long term.
Another false narrative that characterizes opponents of immigration is that immigrants use government services, such as schools and hospitals, but do not pay taxes. This is far from the truth. In fact, immigrants children contribute the most to tax bases. This stigma is further refuted by evidence proving that undocumented immigrants contribute nearly $12 billion annually in both state and federal taxes. A look at the California state, which has attracted one of the highest population of undocumented immigrants is a clear manifestation of the benefits the immigrants add to the economy. In California, 3 million immigrants inject more than $3 billion in revenues collected from taxes. To further dispel this myth that immigrants use government services but do not pay taxes, evidence suggests that most of them do not file for tax returns and do not get access Social Security even with their eligibility status (Gillespie).
What if undocumented immigrants are deported to the delight of the immigration opponents? Immigration opponents are of the opinion that removal of immigrants will help reverse the unemployment trend. However, evidence shows that deportation will greatly hurt the economy. Specifically, mass deportation will lead to shrinkage of the American workforce, with a projected loss of $1 trillion. Such a loss will have a negative impact on economic growth due to lost productivity and lost dollars that would have been spent at shops and restaurants in America. Because of this, I believe that the presence of immigrants makes a lot of economic sense (Gillespie).
The anti-immigration argument that deportation of immigrants will create jobs for American citizens is filled with half-truths. If all the immigrants were to be deported, their positions would not be easily filled by native workers. In fact, research has shown that such a move will lead to 4 million unfilled jobs. This will be disastrous for the U.S. economy because of lost productivity. Therefore, I do not I do not support deportation of undocumented immigrants (Gillespie).
Moreover, contrary to the opponents of migration belief that immigrants take their jobs, there is evidence to prove that they, in fact, help fill occupations with job shortages. For example, foreign workers have helped to ensure that there are no labor shortages by moving into industries and areas where there is a short supply of employees. That is firms and industries where shortages of workers may lead to slow growth of the U.S.s economy. Unlike the natives, foreign workers are willing to move to new areas. Consequently, they help reduce the labor deficit leading to accelerated growth of the economy. Increased growth of the economy is accompanied by slack fall, a positive scenario that is linked to better allocation of resources in the economy. There exist many examples to support the importance of immigrants in reducing labor shortages or flowing where there are jobs. For instance, during and after World War II, foreign workers from Mexico were important in easing labor shortages that resulted from the war effort. Specifically, the high immigration rates that took place in Texas, between 1970 and 1980, as a result of oil boom made Texas the fast-growing state that had immigrants (Orrenius). Without the presence of the foreign-born workers, such a positive growth could not have been achieved. Therefore, migrants flow to the U.S. should not be curbed.
Some American workers fear that immigrant is an economic threat. Specifically, they are worried that newcomers bring wage competition whose effect will be felt in decreased wages for the American worker. On the face value of it, this argument seems to make sense, based on the law of demand and supply. That is, an oversupply of labor will lead to a decrease in the value of labor. However, this argument is not based on any scientific research or evidence. In fact, newcomers have been reported to grow the economy, jobs, and increase the wages of American workers. According to Smith et al., the inflow of foreigners have been linked to the increasing number of new businesses. With the rise in the number of start-ups, it is projected that native-born wages will not fall. This is supported by the fact that innovative foreigners, such as researchers and engineers, create new technologies which help spur the innovation economy. Furthermore, high-skilled immigrants tend to increase the incomes of low-skilled American-born workers, through increased demand for products made by the working class (Smith et al.).
Another reason why immigrations opponents object immigration is due to the belief that people from other countries pose a threat to their culture. However, this fear is unfounded and often exaggerated. Evidence show the exact oppositedespite the anti-immigrants fear, the immigrants are integrating very well (Smith et al.) They do so by quickly by discarding their ancestral language and adopting English language and also through intermarriages. Additionally, immigration opponents see the newcomers as a threat to the rule of law. However, this is equally wrong since evidence suggest that the population of illegal immigrants, a group believed to be a threat to the countrys rule of law, has been a decline for a decade (Smith et al.).
Contrary to the belief that immigrants pose a threat to the U.S. culture, recent evidence shows that diversity in culture spur economic growth. For instance, research carried out by Bove and Elia indicate that when individuals from different societal norms, custom backgrounds, and diverse ethical backgrounds come together, there is enhanced technological growth and increased innovation. Moreover, the flow of new ideas across a diverse society leads to the production of a diverse array of goods and services. At the occupational and job level, diversity of traits among employees working as a team increases the likelihood of having complementary traits. Therefore, increased diversity in expertise, experiences, and perspectives is associated with beneficial outcomes in organizations. Moreover, Bove and Elia research findings showed that heterogeneity in culture is associated with a positive effect on GDP growth over an extended period of time of time. For instance, an increased rate of cultural heterogeneity from 1960 to 2010 was found to have resulted in 2.1 percent growth of GDP across all the nations of the world.
The importance of both high- and low-skilled migrants in improving productivity has also been emphasized by Jaumotte, Ksenia, and Swetainsist. According to these authors, the importance of migrants in accelerating the growth of the economy of their host country are not limited to high-skilled workers with specific knowledge and diverse skills, but also the low-skilled migrants. Specifically, low-skilled migrants have contributed to increased productivity by complementing the expertise that currently exists in the population. Immigrants with low educational levels take critical occupations for which the native workers cannot fill due to their small numbers, thus promoting a more functional and efficient economy. Moreover, when immigrants with lower educational attainment take low cadre jobs, the Native American workers migrate to more complex occupations that need a strong command of language and communication skills, of which they have an edge. An example of the complementary role of migrants is that migrants with low educational levels go for childcare and housekeeping jobs and thus make the native worker (especially women) have longer working hours. Prolonged working hours is positively related to increased productivity and GDP (Jaumotte, Ksenia, and Swetainsist). Because of this, I believe that the U.S. economy needs the immigrants if positive GDP growth is to be sustained.
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