Does Immigration Help or Hurt The US Economy?

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By: Usha Vuppalamarthi

Introduction

Despite a significant immigrant population in the United States, some Americans believe that inflows of foreign labor have reduced local jobs or wages. However most economic analysis does not support this view. Research largely confirms that US wages remain unaffected by immigration over the long-term. In fact, the effects of immigration are mostly positive for US workers and the overall economy (Penn Wharton Budget Model).

Anti-Immigration Sentiment

Since President Donald Trump’s election in 2016, he has pushed forward stricter immigration measures with the goal of protecting US workers and taxpayers. President Trump’s stance reflects a historical trend in public opinion in the US, namely that immigrants reduce job opportunities and cost taxpayers more in social assistance.

Economic Impact of Immigrants

In 2016, 13.5% (43.7 million) of the US population was foreign-born. Immigrants and their American-born children number approximately 86.4 million and make up a sizeable 27% of the US population (Migration Policy). Research shows that this is a good thing. Immigrants have a positive impact on the US economy in the long-term. They increase company profits, job opportunities, and commercial investment in the US. (New York Times)

Further, immigrants tend to take less-desirable jobs in agriculture and construction. As of 2014 immigrants held a disproportionate number of the jobs in agriculture, building and grounds maintenance, and construction. Native-born workers are more heavily represented in better-paying jobs, like sales and personal services, than immigrants.

Some Americans fear the economic impact of illegal immigrants, but it is important to note that they are not eligible for benefits. Almost a third of illegal immigrants, or 3.4 million, pay Social Security payroll taxes. Together with their employers, they have contributed $13 billion to Social Security as of 2010, even though they are not eligible for these benefits upon retirement.

Conclusion

Economists usually agree that the effects of immigration on the US economy are positive. The US is currently experiencing a labor shortage, a lower birthrate, and an aging society. The United States would benefit from more inclusive immigration policies. Contact an experienced Chugh, LLP attorney for help with any personal or corporate immigration needs.

Sources:

  • https://theconversation.com/the-economic-effects-of-restricting-immigration-lessons-from-us-history-88032
  • https://www.thebalance.com/how-immigration-impacts-the-economy-4125413
  • http://d279m997dpfwgl.cloudfront.net/wp/2016/09/0922_immigrant-economics-full-report.pdf