Immigration refers to the act of moving or settling in another place and country either on a temporary or permanent basis. Since the 19th Century, the United States has been the haven for immigrants wanting to reach the “the land of milk and honey.” For immigrants the United States is the only place where people are given better opportunities and better chances of realizing their dream.
However, the constant influx of immigrants to the United States has become a growing concern not only for the state but for the citizens as well. For the state, immigration is not simply a problem about controlling and managing the number of immigrants that come to the United States. For the people, it is also a problem of competition. More immigrants may lead to more gang-related crime problems. Terrorism is also an issue closely related to immigration. In the light of economic, crime and terrorism issues, concerns have been raised about whether immigration should merely be restricted or absolutely prohibited.
Based on the readings, immigration per se is not a serious social or economic concern. It offers unique advantages and serves to promote the economic interests of the United States. Firstly, immigrants help increase the demand for more labor (“Policy Debate: Does U.S. immigration policy harm domestic workers?”, 2006, p.1). In effect, the more immigrants who come in to the country the higher is the demand for labor. Immigrants provide additional labor in the different markets.
The income they help generate is in turn used to purchase more goods and services. More immigrants result to more purchases of goods and services. The high demand for goods and services will in turn lead to the demand for more labor to produce these goods and services. Thus, economically speaking, immigration helps sustain the economy.
Secondly, while it is true that immigrants adversely affect the wages of US citizens who are unskilled and who did not finish their high school education, empirical studies show that immigration has minimal adverse effect on wage and employment of domestic workers (“Policy Debate: Does U.S. immigration policy harm domestic workers?”, 2006, p.1). It does not displace US citizens from their jobs. It does not lead to lower wages and lower terms and conditions of employment.
In fact, the adverse economic impact on a relatively small number of unskilled workers is even mitigated by the gains the US economy receives from the lower prices of goods produced by the immigrants. Considering that wage is one of the factors that determine the cost of the goods and services, lower wages will result to cheaper goods and services. This gives the public opportunity to purchase lower-priced goods and services.
Third, the United States stands to lose very little from accepting immigrants. This is based on the idea that immigrants enter the United States in a condition where they are fit to work and become effective workforce of the United States. Compared to a child who is born and raised in the United States and whom the government needs to spend for education and health care, immigrants immediately become contributors to our economic system. They also help in increasing per capita income in the United States.
- Economic Issues
It is noticeable that the article is biased in favor of immigration. While the writer’s opinion is respected, there are some points raised in the article which are not based on reality. Because of the influx of immigrants, employers are no longer willing to offer better terms and conditions of employment to their employees. Ordinary common sense will say that employers will naturally prefer immigrants from citizens because they can get them for cheaper wager. While this may not be the trend for skilled workers, the United States owes it to every American citizen to be given decent and respectable job in his own country.
The article also said that immigration has an effect on the price of goods. While it may be argued that cheaper cost of labor may help reduce the prices of goods and commodities because of cheaper overhead cost on the part of businesses, the same however is only partially true. The reality of the matter is that the impact of cheap cost of labor on the prices of commodities is very small. This is because the labor cost represents only a small percentage of the overhead cost for business owners. Other factors will have to be taken into account such as warehouse expenses, shipping expenses, rent, and retailer’s markup.
Another issue is the effect of lower wages on the quality of life among the citizens of the United States. The premise is that more immigrants lead to more supply of labor than their demand which leads to lower wages and uncompetitive terms and conditions of employment. US citizens for fear of losing their jobs have forced to accept jobs which offer lower wages. In effect, citizens are forced to adjust to their quality of life because of the competition for jobs.
The most important issue in immigration is national security. The constant influx of immigrants exposes the United States territory to hostile attacks from terrorists. Unless the United States secures its territory and the entry of illegal aliens is closely monitored, US will always be a target of terrorists. It should be noted that Mohamed Atta al-Saved and his other co-conspirators illegally entered our country using expired visas. Had the US Immigration been stricter on these aliens entering our country, the 9/11 attack would have been prevented. Moreover, crime is another offshoot of a weak policy on immigration. Research shows that some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. The gang-related crimes are caused by gang members who are Latinos.
Thus, the issue of immigration should be approached with great caution. While additional human resources is needed to ensure that the economy continues to run, great care should be taken so that the average Joe is not displaced from his job and that he continues to enjoy the benefits of living in this country which we all consider as the “land of milk and honey.”
“Policy Debate: Does U.S. immigration policy harm domestic workers?” (2006). Economics Resource Center. Retrieved 20 February 2009, from: http://www.swlearning.com/economics/policy_debates/immigration.html