Despite there being a massive shortage of workers in the U.S., there are still many people who are hugely opposed to immigration. But why is that? What makes many Americans feel that there needs to be more done to stop people, particularly those coming illegally from Mexico, from crossing the border. The good folk at immigration law firm Graham Adair say that the below are a few of the beliefs that many people have in relation to immigrants.
Immigrants Will Take Our Jobs
Yes, immigrants are entering the U.S. to work and will take jobs, but they are typically hired to do the jobs that Americans don’t want to do. Furthermore, immigrants that work and live in American communities are paying taxes and spending money and are therefore contributing to the economy.
There are also fears that immigrants add a share of GDP to every American and yes, it does. However, the amount is very small. Having immigrants fuels the economy by up to $72 billion every single year, according to the George W. Bush Institute.
Immigrants Will Lower Wages
The idea that wages will decrease because of immigrants is a widely held one. Nevertheless, while immigrants may decrease the wages of a very small number of native-born Americans, they actually raise wages for a much larger proportion of American workers. Immigrants tend to compete with each other for the lower paid jobs rather than competing with native-born Americans, who are more likely to be employed in communication jobs because of their ability to speak the English language. These jobs tend to be compensated at a higher rate than the manual labor jobs often accessed by immigrants.
Immigrants Abuse the Welfare System
This is another common belief among Americans, but the truth is that immigrants access far less welfare than Americans. In fact, immigrants cannot even access means-tested welfare for their first five years in the U.S. Immigrants are less likely to use benefits than Americans and they pay more in contributions to Social Security and Medicare. This is for a number of reasons including their ineligibility, age, and the fact that they are more likely to retire in another country.
Immigrants Have a Negative Impact on Government Debt
The reality is that immigrants typically pay as much in their taxes as they claim in benefits, meaning their impact on government debt is a net zero. Furthermore, younger immigrants tend to have less impact on government debt than those that arrive in the country when they are older. The economy grows when immigrants come here to work; because they pay taxes, their impact is low. With most immigrants who arrive in the U.S. already of working age, there is no need for them to access public schools. So, they typically begin working and paying taxes as soon as they arrive, thereby eliminating the need for any benefits.
Immigrants Commit the Most Crimes
Although there are some immigrants that commit crimes, as a whole, they are less likely to be convicted of crimes than native-born Americans. Those cities that are highly populated with immigrants typically have lower crime rates than those with higher American populations.
There are pros and cons to immigration. Working immigrants fuel the economy and pay taxes but when they are competing for the lowest-skilled jobs with Americans, it can result in a fall in wages. Nevertheless, for most Americans, wages will rise because they are not directly competing with immigrants for employment.
Despite there being a fear of immigrants being a burden on the welfare state, research shows that most immigrants have a net zero impact, paying more in taxes than they claim in benefits.