What are the actual benefits to the US economy of current immigrants – either legal or illegal? According to Davidson: “…There are places in the United States where illegal immigration has big effects (both positive and negative). But economists generally believe that when averaged over the whole economy, the effect is a small net positive. Harvard's George Borjas says the average American's wealth is increased by less than 1 percent because of illegal immigration… ” Immigrants remain to be a positive addition and necessity to the US economy in general – both then and now.
Immigrants fulfill the labor requirements of skilled and unskilled, educated, and non-educated requirements brought about by the varying state needs. As stated in David Kennedy’s article entitled “Can we still afford to be a nation of immigrants? ”, if the United States seeks to grow its economy by just three percent per annum alone, we would need at least 5 million additional immigrants for each year that the economy is growing. Immigration fuels economic growth and economic growth requires additional immigrants (Kennedy). In a state wide scale, California presents the biggest microcosm of the overall immigration debate.
California’s economy is the fifth biggest economy in the world and is still growing disproportionately over any other state in the US. And yet California continues to absorb millions of immigrants each year – both legal and illegal. The recent housing bust barely affected the state and its economy remains bullish despite the slowdown elsewhere in the country. Negative effects of immigration: Then and now. If immigration is so good to the country, why then are some asking for protections against illegal immigration, and some want to close the door totally to immigrants as in the curtailment or rescission of the 1965 statutes of immigration?
The answer is ingrained in the volatile US economy also. When there is a boom in the economy, unemployment goes down to the lowest level and in some states, almost nil. However, when the economy suffers a bust, unemployment soars. This usually causes a widespread drain on the social and economic infrastructures that the government has prepared and installed to absorb the unemployed and the displaced sectors of US society.
Today, because of the various welfare agencies present, people come not just to work but also to access these welfare benefits. The sole most feared ill effect of allowing continuing immigration into the United States by citizen workers is that immigrants take away whatever job opportunities there are in the market. However, the answer to the question is, according to Davidson, is that illegal immigrants have no real negative effect on the economy overall because “there is close to no net impact on the unemployment rate”.
Although illegal immigrants do take some of the jobs of the poorer segment of US society – specifically those who have low or no skills, and who (according to studies) most likely belong to the African Americans and other Latino ethnic minorities, the effects are almost nil – depending or where the immigrants are located (Davidson). Moreover, they flock to only three (3) city centers in the US namely, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles (Davidson).
Apparently, a third of all illegal immigrants in the country today are concentrated on these three cities because of the job opportunities present and has a “continuing” capacity to absorb more if its economy continue to grow (David). IV. Conclusion Summing it all up, immigration in itself is good for the US economy overall. However, we need to ensure that everything is done in the right perspective and put certain excesses into order. We only need to look at California’s economy to see the benefits and pros of immigration. However, we can also review California’s welfare system to see the negative effects of immigration.
We see a lot of illegal immigrants lined up in public health centers and the emergency departments of hospitals and see the reason why a lot of hospitals in the state are closing. The health and welfare system in California is getting drained by illegal immigrants who are protected by state laws irregardless of their immigration status. Hence, if we wish to balance the needs for manpower for the continued growth of the US economy by welcoming new immigrants, so must we also remove certain “magnets” that drain our established public social infrastructures and not make beggars out of potentially productive individuals.
We should put a stop to a welfare oriented economy but instead facilitate the immersion and legalization of worthy immigrants who wants to work and are able to pay taxes. A system similar to the proposed legislation in Congress but with some defined regulations and requirements on new immigrants should be put in place. The processing fees proposed should be utilized to facilitate and improve current immigration processing period and systems. Let us remove constraints but instead build bridges and improve our immigration institutions to facilitate a better and enhanced legal immigration system.
Hand in hand with this, let us encourage and promote higher education and skills training for all residents of this country with ample focus and concentration of those who most need it – the existing African American and Latino minorities. Let us keep in mind though the lessons of the past and current immigration policy flaws. This is the only way to move forward with the current immigration debate.
- Barnes, Fred. “Who Killed the Immigration Bill? June 11, 2007. The Wall Street Journal. June 11, 2007. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5312900