Contrary to what some politicians may think, the evidence says immigrants are beneficial to the economy

Jacom Stephens

Jacom Stephens

Traditionally, if you go through the history of nations that contain significant minority populations, you will often times find that in periods of duress these minorities are scapegoated for the nation’s economic problem. This is most predominantly relevant in the context of World War Two, where the minority Jewish population was systematically targeted in a campaign of discrimination and prejudice because of misinformation being spread about them. With these ideas originating and being propagated from prominent members of German society, like politicians and journalists, they quickly gained traction and started to become mainstream thought. Despite there being no convincing evidence that the Jewish population was engaged in an elaborate scheme to destroy the economic infrastructure of the Germany economy, they were summarily targeted as an enemy and threat to the state.

Fast forward to the current year, the United States has its own scapegoat to blame for, what some individuals see as, the shortage of jobs available in addition to the crime that takes place across a wide array of American communities. Given its propinquity to the United States, Central America, and South American are some of the regions where the United States receives a large proportion of its new immigrants. With the sustained immigration coming from Latino communities, they have begun to make a significant impact on the demographic makeup of the country, while in the process attracting criticism from particular sections of the country. Many influential politicians in this country have consistently attacked Latino immigrants, as well as other minority communities like Muslims and African Americans, as being the reason for the country’s economic and social problems.

Throughout the course of the election, this has been a prominent theme in Donald Trump’s campaign, the scapegoating of Latino immigrants and communities for the shortage of jobs and crime in states bordering Mexico. Why else would an individual like Mr. Trump propose the idea of building one of the largest walls in the history of civilization? Obviously, people like Trump are using minority groups like Latinos for their own political gain, but this is in itself problematic because it spreads disinformation on a grand scale. People like Trump do not bother to disseminate truthful information because it would obviously run contrary to their narrative. When looking at the actual data, we find these claims that Latino immigrants to ‘takers’ rather than ‘producers’ to be factually incorrect.

In fact, many qualified economists have dismissed this notion that immigrants are detrimental to the United States economy, instead, showing that the effective is quite the opposite. A researcher at UCLA, Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, has concluded that if the United States government were to, in fact, reform the political system and fully integrate the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country, then it could have a combined economic effect of $1.5 trillion dollars being added to the economy over the course of 10 years. This is largely due to the fact that documented workers earn a considerable amount of more money than undocumented workers. Documented workers, for example, are required to be paid higher wages due to the regulatory enforcements that are implemented in order to provide fair wages to all workers.

Then, with this increase in wages, these newly legalized workers would be able to purchase consumer goods that would then help to increase economic growth. A USC professor, Manuel Pastor, projected that naturalized citizens would earn an addition 8 to 11 percent increase in income. This is quite significant because not only will it add to the economy, but it will also improve the living conditions and availability of opportunities for these immigrants, which means the country itself is improved because it takes the strain off of welfare programs and contributes to the development of other sectors of society. Additionally, immigrants have contributed to the longevity of Social Security because of their monetary contributions to the Social Security Trust Fund. It is estimated that, over the next 75 years, immigrants will contribute an additional $600 billion to the Social Security Trust Fund which is a vital lifeline from which many older and disabled individuals subsist from.

In addition, the influx of Latino immigrants, both legal and illegal, have ensured the vitality of the American workforce. As other demographics begin to grow at slower rates, Hispanics have been the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States which has helped the United States prolong a possible population bubble that countries like China, Japan, and Italy will soon suffer from economically. Instead, the United States will have a large pool of young workers and talent to help occupy jobs that will generate sustained economic growth in the coming decades.

Clearly, there are many benefits to immigration in this country. Not only will in provide direct economic benefits, such as GDP growth, but it will also ensure the long term vitality of the work force in the form of young workers. Contrary to what some politicians and sensationalists are claiming today, Latino immigrants do not pose a threat to the country, as a matter of fact, they bring with them a plethora of economic and social benefits. Instead of attempting to try to demonize these groups and dissuade them from immigrating, perhaps a better way to go about this would be to create an immigration process that is more accommodating and streamlined. After all, one of the key issues that anti-immigrant activists have with the concept of immigration is that it will allow for the free flow of people, thus making it harder to track these individuals if they decided to go ‘off the grid.’

By integrating them properly, this will enable the government to monitor them for security reasons thus removing much of the concern that these individuals hold for immigration. It’s not a matter of whether or not we should have immigration to the United States. As long as there are better opportunities available in the United States, people will always flow on a gradient that points to places where they are easily accessible, such as the United States. Without immigration, the United States will suffer greatly by missing out on a variety of economic and demographic benefits. It is without the best interests of the country to facilitate immigration, in a responsible way, if we want to remain competitive against other countries in the world. For the politicians who denounce this and claim that immigrants are a drain on society, they are fundamentally wrong and the evidence proves so. They are, in fact, the ones that would bring about negativity to the country.