How immigration affects America

It helps achieve a higher standard of living for millions of immigrant workers.

It seems as though the immigration debate crops up a few times every year. It’s the hot topic now because the House and the Senate are eager to pass a bill that would have a large impact on our nation and its immigration laws. Demonstrations opposing the bill are taking place across the country. Minnesotans are fighting the bill by marching to the capitol today, and the media are covering it with relish. Some facts on how immigration really affects the American economy may be helpful when sorting through the rhetoric and emotional strings being pulled.

According to Paul Krugman, economist and writer for The New York Times, legal and illegal immigration has a very small effect on our nation’s economy. In fact, it increases the United States’ gross domestic product by just 0.11 percent. Immigration means a larger workforce, but contrary to popular belief, this does not mean a job shortage to native-born Americans. Immigration increases the demand for jobs which creates a larger job market. This allows companies to lower their wages, and lower wages mean companies can afford to provide more jobs. This only hurts the native-born

Americans working what are called “McJobs,” because they will receive a slightly lower wage. Every coin has two sides, however, and more workers at lower wages will support the American economy. Those affected the most are the immigrants themselves. In their home countries, on average they would make only 11 percent of what they can make in the United States, making their quality of life significantly improved with no real loss to native-born Americans.

So what all the ruckus? Much more important things can and should be done to assist those who are working full-time to earn poverty wages, and there are much bigger things undermining our economy than immigration. This is because the simple truth is that immigration has a small, positive effect on America’s economy.

Increased deportation, building a wall like the one in Israel and making citizenship harder to achieve will not help our job market in any significant way. Let us not try to blame the immigrants and make them scapegoats. Where would you be if your ancestors were not allowed into the country?

What immigration does achieve is a higher standard of living for the millions of immigrants who move here. It provides them with a higher income and quality of life. Additionally, a diverse population with countless ethnicities, races and creeds is what makes America special. It provides us with a creative spunk and an edge not found anywhere else in the world.

Celeste Finn is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]