Issues on Legal and Illegal Immigrant Workers

Foreign-born workers are increasing its numbers in the U. S. labor force. With the projected decrease in the growth of the native workforce as the baby-boom generation reaches retirement age, immigrants are likely to hold an even greater share of jobs in the future, a threat so they say, to the American’s employment outlook in the future. Illegal immigrants are defined as those individuals who enter countries illegally or legally but overstayed their visas or failed to renew their permits to stay in the country.

These people are seasonal workers who fail to return home when their visas or contracts expired and has violated his or her admission in the country. According to the most comprehensive study on immigrants by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), immigrant workers are vital to the nation’s economic prospects. Immigrants and their families bring long term benefits to the country because they pay taxes and support security as well as filled in positions that most Americans refused to accept.

They did not take away the jobs of the American population because they only fill in low, semi-skilled positions or skilled positions where there is said to be labor shortages or a particular expertise is needed. In fact, according to surveys, immigrants add up to $10 Billion each year to the nation’s economy. Immigrants who became US citizens pay higher taxes than native-born Americans. Federal taxes paid by families with a naturalized citizen average $6,580 per year compared with $5,070 for US-born-only families.

The unique skills of immigrants also introduce a new set of opportunities for companies and investors in the United States. Their personal abilities and skills generate opportunities for investment and creation of new businesses in the country. As often said larger labor force increases the productivity of the existing capital stock and induces new investment in response to higher returns. Immigrants also contributed a great deal in the economic boom of 1990. They were part and were essential to the nation’s economic recovery and future growth as they help fill in job gaps.

According to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, “As America’s workforce ages, and the baby boomers retire, immigrants will play an essential role in reducing a long-term projected labor shortage “. Businesses founded by immigrants are also a source of economic and fiscal gain for the Americans. These businesses added up at least $29 Billion to the total amount of taxes paid by immigrants.

As their earnings rise, they also turn into net contributors to the nation. Further, 70% of immigrants who arrived in the United States are over the age of 18 which means that about 17.5 Million immigrants work in the country who have education and upbringing paid for by the citizens of the sending country. This means a clear fiscal bargain on the part of the United States. Moreover, working immigrants are less likely to receive welfare. Welfare rules enacted by Congress in 1996 have made newly-arrived immigrants ineligible for most welfare benefits. The borders with Mexico are unsecured and open yet the Congress and the President refuse to close the door. Congress’ open door policy certainly poses a great threat to the security of the United States.

For reasons, Congress takes no action to close its border. First, because illegal immigrants can be the swing vote that gets a liberal tax and spend the congressman into office. Businesses often use illegal immigrants too because they work for cheap labor or less money. These businesses make contributions to the congressmen and other politicians who are receptive to business needs. Also, pro amnesty and open border policy congressmen and senators want to eliminate the Constitution and create a borderless North American Trading Zone that includes Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations and its members have been trying to work on this for quite some time now. Illegal aliens are generally poor and dependent of low wages to live on so they always seek public welfare programs for sustenance, a reason why they vote for leaders who will fund said social programs. Employers on the other hand, exploit illegal workers. They make huge profit out of these illegal workers and are always able to escape prosecution. Employers benefit from the illegal status of a migrant who is desperate for work, prepared and willing to accept low pay.

Hiring illegal workers is an advantage for employers because they pay less in welfare contributions and other non-wage costs. Some employers require longer hours of work from these workers and refuse to pay their bonuses and even their wages. Impact of Illegal Workers in the Labor Market The increased number of immigrants with little education probably affects the growth of the wages of the native-born high school drop outs but its ultimate impact on wages is really difficult to quantify.

Recent estimates of this growth for two decades have ranged from negligible to an earnings reduction of almost 10%. Earnings of native workers whose education and skills parallel those of foreign workers could be affected by the increased competition. There will come a time when these foreign workers would be motivated to obtain additional education to receive the increased labor market payoffs associated with greater education. But needless to say, foreign workers have diverse characteristics that are important to the labor market of the US.

As what the President and congressmen have always reiterated, US economy could not function very well without these people. They are necessary and essential components of the total labor force of the country to keep its economy strong and going. Rights of Illegal Workers Due Process Rights of Immigrants According to the international standards, depriving a person of his liberty is a serious matter such that immigrants detained by the INS are protected both by those international laws and standards and by the laws of the United States.

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution state that no person may be deprived of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. " In Shaugnessy v. United States, for example, the Supreme Court insisted that aliens are entitled to due process before being deported: "Aliens who have once passed through our gates, even illegally, may be expelled only after proceedings conforming to traditional standards of fairness encompassed in due process of law. "      Immigrants also face trial in the United States if they are accused of violating state or federal criminal laws.

When and if they are convicted, they may be punished and made to serve a criminal sentence. President Bush’s Temporary Worker Program on January 7, 2004 however proposed a new temporary worker program to match foreign workers with U. S. employers when no Americans are available to fill in the jobs. The program is open to new and undocumented foreign workers currently employed in the country. This program would allow workers who hold jobs to come out of hiding and participate legally in the country’s economy.

The President’s proposal is based on several basic principles namely: protecting the homeland by controlling the borders; serve America’s economy by matching a willing worker with a willing employer; promoting compassion and providing incentives for return to home country; and protecting the rights of legal immigrants. This program aims to achieve a more prosperous and secure homeland and economy for America as well as a more compassionate system that will protect all workers in America with labor laws, the right to change jobs, fair wages, and a healthy work environment.

Conclusion The overall finding of the research was that there is no consistent relationship between the growth in the foreign born population and employment outcomes for native-born workers, thus, it is not possible that the inflow of foreign born workers has in any way, hurt or helped the employment outlook for native-born workers. Rather, the complementary nature of the skills, occupations, and abilities of foreign-born workers increases the productivity of natives, stimulates their investments, and enhances the choices available to its consumers.

Illegal immigrant workers contribute to America’s economic recovery, growth, enrichment of culture and so therefore, a vital benefit to all native-born Americans.


Allan Greenspan, Technology and the Economy, Remarks before the Economic Club of New York, NY, January 13, 2000. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, National Academy Press, 1997.