Undocumented Minnesotans play vital role in the workforce

by Sophie Ball, University student

You’ve probably overheard someone saying “Illegals are stealing our jobs” at the bus stop. Maybe you heard someone mention how “immigrants are mooching off of our tax money” at a table nearby as you eat lunch. You might have even read about the way “illegal immigrants are sucking up the money meant to go to our welfare state” when browsing through impassioned comments on a webpage.

The truth is that these assertions are false and often times even malicious. The immigrants that come to the United States and stay without documents often take low-wage jobs that are not filled by the existing Americans in the labor sector. The new generation of retirees will leave behind a tremendous void in the workforce, and as more people seek higher education, those willing to work low-income, unskilled jobs will decrease. This is where the undocumented play their role. In fact, the undocumented workers of Minnesota add $3.8 billion in value to our economy just within six main industries of work, according to research from Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research.

Oftentimes we fail to realize the lingering effects of a decision that we deem the best alternative, such as deportation of the undocumented. However, the undocumented immigrants of the U.S. are vital to our economy and are already an integrated and irremovable workforce that we need to keep functioning as a state and as a country.