Immigrants Create Jobs, Not Take Them Away


The argument that immigrants come to the country to steal our jobs is a longstanding debate between those who agree with that idea and those who don’t. Despite the numerous studies and empirical research done to prove otherwise, many native-born Americans truly hold on to their beliefs that immigrants are one of the major causes of local unemployment.

Let’s take a closer look at this silly debate and break down certain aspects of it to prove that having immigrants is actually a boon and not a bane to the American economy.

There is no direct relation between unemployment and the influx of immigrants.

One of the things we need to establish early is that there is no correlation between local unemployment and immigration. While many people insist that since immigrants came, jobs for native-born Americans were lost to them.

To a certain extent, it is true, but the numbers that back those claims up are underwhelming. Even if you talk to a knowledgeable immigration lawyer, they will probably tell you the same thing. Studies have been conducted a decade ago that dispel the job-loss-to-immigration myth. The claims don’t have enough proof to show a relationship between immigration and unemployment on a local, regional, and national level.

Documented immigrants accounted for only 3.1% of the population in counties with high unemployment rates. Furthermore, they made up 4.6% — a higher share of the population — of counties with the lowest unemployment rates.

It is also found that manufacturing and rural areas are the ones with high unemployment rates. These areas tend to have far fewer immigrants than places where more job opportunities are where unemployment rates are a lot lower.

Immigrants actually help create more jobs for native-born Americans as consumers and as entrepreneurs.

Immigrants, contrary to people’s claims, actually help create more jobs for native-born Americans. How? As consumers and entrepreneurs.

Immigrants spend their wages in U.S. businesses and establishments. This helps keep workers employed and employers stay in business. Whenever they spend their money on food, clothes, cars, appliances, and other products and services, they help support businesses and create more expansion opportunities.

On top of that, immigrants who have advanced degrees and are enterprising come to the U.S. on temporary visas create businesses that provide jobs to the community. In fact, they are more than twice as likely to start their own business and employ locals compared to locals.

Their entrepreneurial and innovative characters are three times more likely to file for patents than U.S.-born citizens. The investments and opportunities that may arise from these innovations benefit the community by enhancing job creation.

Native-borns and immigrants are in different job markets, so there is almost zero competition.

They have different educational levels and backgrounds.

According to a report published by the Congressional Budget Office a few years ago, 30% of U.S.-born citizens who are 25-years-old and above had received some college education compared to 17% of foreign-born workers. When it comes to having a high school diploma, 27% of the foreign workers did not have one than a mere 6% of locals.

They are employed in different fields and occupations.

Foreign-born workers are typically found in construction, extraction, production, building and grounds cleaning, maintenance, and sales.

U.S.-born workers, on the other hand, are employed mostly in office and administrative support, management, training, education, library occupations, and sales.

The only common denominator both demographics have is sales, in which the level of competition is still very minimal. In fact, it is also proven that immigrants take on jobs that Americans themselves don’t want to do.

Their specializations are different.

Let’s say that both the U.S.-born worker and immigrant have the same occupation and work in the same industry. They are still hired based on their specific skill sets. The former has a higher pay for better communication skills in English — an obvious advantage over the competition — than most immigrants possess.

They are located in different areas.

It is estimated that most immigrants — about 62.5% of them — live in six states: California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, and Florida. In contrast, about 66.2% of locals live in all the other 44 states. Even if most immigrants live and work in those six states, all the other factors (educational background, occupations, and skill sets) still come into play.

Economist Giovanni Peri summed it up beautifully when he said that immigrants help with the expansion of the economy’s productive capacity, increase investment activity, and promote different specializations that ultimately lead to a boost in overall productivity. He added that in no way do these events occur at the expense of the jobs and livelihoods meant for native-born American workers.

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