Immigration is one of the frequently discussed issues in the United States relating to its economy. On the one hand, there is an opinion that this process positively influences the economic development of the country, including its population base and increase in gross domestic product (GDP), the encouragement of diversity and progress in the global market, and improved entrepreneurship. On the other hand, wage changes, new types of stressors, and additional employment competition may challenge native citizens and put the US economy under threat.
In addition, there is also a group of people who do not think migrants have any significant impact on their own work, or the economy, one way or another. The aim of this paper is to investigate the process of migration in the United States and analyze the activities of migrant workers. Overall, it is wrong to ignore the impact of immigrants on the US economy, and the existing literature gap promotes the necessity to analyze the effects of migrant workers on American citizens through the prism of tangible benefits, such as increased profits, labor demand or supply, and recovery in the global market, along with weaknesses, including job shortages, unfair treatment, and integration difficulties.
Immigration Basics for the US Economy
Today, people use a variety of reasons to support their decisions about immigration. Some want to avoid the consequences of war and military actions, while others simply put the necessity to reunite with their families as their priority. In any case, it is impossible for one person, or even one nation, to halt the process of migration in the world and, as such, everything should be done to analyze its features and consequences to avoid or control its possible effects on different spheres of life.
According to the investigations of Monty, the latest results of the US Department of Labor shows that more than 25 million people who work in the United States are immigrants. They constitute around 16% of the total labor force and increase annual GDP by up to $2 trillion (Bohanon and Currott). The total population of migrants in the United States has reached 44 million, about 14% of the US population (Zong et al.). All these numbers and facts cannot be ignored by the government and labor departments.
Regarding the latest world news and changes, the number of people who want to move to the United States, for personal or work-related reasons, continues to rise. Recent research demonstrates that India remains one of the leading countries of US migrants’ origins (Zong et al.). Many people from China, Mexico, Cuba, and Canada also come to America in order to change their lives and ensure a safer future for their families.
Some migrants join the current US labor market and expect to gain certain benefits, while others opt to open their own business and earn money, creating a solid basis for potential buyers and services’ users. Regardless of the actual purpose and possibilities, immigration can be defined as a significant factor in economic development, upholding both positive and negative shifts.
Benefits of Immigration
Many researchers and economists support the idea that immigrants can help rather than hinder an economy. Although many issues depend on if this process is legal or illegal, it is hard to disregard the number of positive aspects from the economic perspective. Immigration has a positive impact on the country’s economic growth due to the increased need for workers and low-cost labor power in industries (Swift).
More than 75% of immigrants are legally authorized and can become naturalized citizens, with full rights and responsibilities, with time (Goldstone). This means that more money can be added to living standards, increased per-capita income may be observed over time, and new resources to capital goods should be discovered (Bohanon and Currott). Diversity in populations result in a diversity of ideas and innovations, and these changes can turn out to be a considerable improvement for the country.
One of the most expected benefits of immigration is the possibility to lower prices for native citizens and guests. As a rule, immigrants agree to work in different fields and receive minimal wages compared to the demands and expectations of better-educated Americans. Many companies, public organizations, universities, and hospitals find it normal to import cheap labor and suppress wages by using the visa system and paying about 30 cents per hour (Maynard 14). Under the conditions of the H-1B program, US employers can temporarily employ migrants with specialized skills and knowledge (Verbruggen 41).
Currently, many companies are able to save money and employ the required number of people with ease. In the discussion, Verbruggen introduces several recommendations for the government to charge companies and industries that benefit from this source of truly valuable, but very low-paid, workers because the price that is paid is really too small (41). However, the presence of cheap labor promotes cheap goods and services for the population, and multiple evaluations and decisions have to be made to realize how to use migration with minimum damage and maximum advantage.
There is also a scheme that helps understand the worth of immigrants in the US population from the point of view of housing. According to Bohanon and Currott, a 1% in population increase because of immigration leads to a 1% increase in property value. New places for a living are necessary, and more people to work in the building sphere have to be found. Analytics, architectures, and other stakeholders should be invited, and they can be either native citizens or invited workers. It is a decision of the country what resources should be used to meet these new expectations.
Finally, the flow of new ideas contributes to the growth of entrepreneurship for young people. The evaluations of the Small Business Administration prove that about 10% of immigrants aim to create enough opportunities and open their own business, pay taxes, and increase the GDP level, whilst only 9% of native-born Americans do the same things (Monty). The development of private business has its price for the country and for people.
As soon as migrants earn money, they can spend more and support the growth of the local economy. Young people can discover new opportunities and demonstrate their skills and potential in different fields, using the possibility to spend less money on deposits and control other expenses. Flexible working hours, innovation, and new jobs motivate employees and prove that good working conditions are available to all people, regardless of their origins.
Shortages of Immigration
In addition to a number of positive aspects of immigration and its connection to the US economy, certain dangerous or unpredictable issues cannot be ignored. Immigration, whatever the reason, leads to the increase of the population and competition. People might have to start fighting for their jobs and to find solutions to their problems in a variety of ways. It does not take much time to turn the majority of the already mentioned benefits into shortages.
For example, the Trump administration moves to prove that immigration, especially illegal immigration, is a real threat to the US economy by provoking global competitiveness, the violation of human rights, and threats to national security (Zong et al.). Trump’s intentions include the necessity to protect American jobs and provide native-born Americans with a possibility to find good jobs and not to be afraid that better options will be offered to migrants. The decision to tighten the US borders and control illegal immigration is a chance for the country to reduce education, welfare, and healthcare costs (Maynard 1). This step can be a serious sign that immigration should not be considered as a one-sided benefit to the US economy.
Before Trump, immigration was introduced as a strong achievement of the country to assist foreigners in their intentions to change their lives, undertake jobs of different types, and receive low salaries without any concerns or discontent. However, the idea that immigrants take jobs from native-born US workers shocks many people who have not even considered the issue before (Verbruggen 37).
During the last several years, about 50% of immigrants (more than 20 million people) became naturalized citizens (Zong et al.). They tried to work hard, demonstrate their skills and intentions, and earn the required recognition. However, this does also mean that some of them could be viewed as having taken the opportunities of the people who were born in America just because they tried harder. Although immigrants can be serious motivators for native-born citizens in the labor market, the basic fact that some jobs are taken from Americans stands. Results of this can be observed in the intentions of Americans to avoid foreign goods and services, and to challenge foreign economy.
Along with unemployment problems for the US population, immigration can lead to wage disparities. As soon as new skilled workers come to the industry and agree to work under the offered conditions, there is a threat for domestic low-skilled employees to lose their jobs or earn less money. Dissatisfaction, social protests, and a waste of resources negatively influence the country and its economy and question the importance of education and welfare for native-born citizens.
Young people are not confident in their future and continue to argue with immigrants, promoting crime, violence, and human rights’ inequality. It is stated that more than 50% of immigrants are females (Zong et al.). This means that American females have to compete with migrant females in addition to the necessity to solve gender-related issues in the current working environment. America is a country with a rich racial and gender-biased history, and there is no need to make it also a country characterized by prejudice of migrants.
The investigation of the positive and negative impact of immigration on the US economy proves that people, including government representatives, employers, and native-born citizens, are free to develop their own judgments and opinions about the presence of foreign labor power in the country. There is also an opinion that immigration has actually no direct effect on the economy, either by taking something from the population, or by offering many opportunities (Goldstone; Swift).
In such states as Iowa and North Carolina, immigration has resulted in a construction boom and a kind of cultural renaissance, with a number of new ideas and possibilities to look at current economic problems from new perspectives (Maynard 6). In Washington, the Trump administration doubts the presence of independent business owners and sees them as the main supporters of Democratic parties in the country (Monty). However, statistics show that many immigrants also prefer to work in public services, as well as construction and education industries, and demonstrate their interests in Republican ideas (Monty). Therefore, immigration does not influence the economy directly but can create indirect causes to change people’s attitudes towards this process.
In general, immigration in the United States remains a serious issue for discussion. There will always be supporters of immigration in the country because the presence of new people and a low-cost labor force help stabilize the economy and cover shortages in some fields. Still, the US government has to pay special attention to migrant control and make sure that rich employers use migrants to promote the prosperity of the whole nation, and not only to protect their own ambitions.
The United States is a country that is ready to open its doors to millions of people from different regions and offer opportunities that cannot be found elsewhere. However, such generosity should not be made at the expense of native-born Americans. Migrants, in their turn, can help the country to achieve economic progress. Immigration is a chance for all stakeholders to stabilize wages, use innovative ideas, invite skilled workers, and earn a good living.
Bohanon, Cecil, and Nick Currott. “Increasing Immigration Would Help Economy”. Indianapolis Business Journal. 2018. Web.
Goldstone, Jack. “The U.S. Needs More Immigrants: Without Young Workers, the Economy Can’t Grow“. Reason. 2018. Web.
Maynard, Micheline. “Immigrants and the Economy: Do They Help Spur Growth?” CQ Researcher, vol. 27, no. 8, 2017. pp. 1-25. Web.
Monty, Jacob. “Three Reasons Immigration Is Vital to the U.S. Economy.” Inside Business. 2018. Web.
Swift, Art. “More Americans Say Immigrants Help Rather Than Hurt Economy”. Gallup. 2017. Web.
Verbruggen, Robert. “Harvard’s George J. Borjas: adding up the cost of uncontrolled immigration.” The American Conservative, vol. 16, no. 1, 2017, pp. 37-41.
Zong, Jie, et al. “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United State”. Migration Policy Institute. 2018. Web.