How Unskilled Immigrants Hurt Our Economy
A handful of industries get low-cost labor, and the taxpayers foot the bill.
Summer 2006 The Social Order
“…Velasquez’s story illustrates some of the fault lines in the nation’s current, highly charged, debate on immigration. Since the mid-1960s, America has welcomed nearly 30 million legal immigrants and received perhaps another 15 million illegals, numbers unprecedented in our history. These immigrants have picked our fruit, cleaned our homes, cut our grass, worked in our factories, and washed our cars. But they have also crowded into our hospital emergency rooms, schools, and government-subsidized aid programs, sparking a fierce debate about their contributions to our society and the costs they impose on it…
Yet while these workers add little to our
economy, they come at great cost, because they are not economic abstractions but human beings, with their own culture and ideas—often at odds with our own. Increasing numbers of them arrive with little education and none of the skills necessary to succeed in a modern economy. Many may wind up stuck on our lowest economic rungs, where they will rely on something that immigrants of other generations didn’t have: a vast U.S. welfare and social-services apparatus that has enormously amplified the cost of immigration. Just as welfare reform and other policies are helping to shrink America’s underclass by weaning people off such social programs, we are importing a new, foreign-born underclass. As famed free-market economist Milton Friedman puts it: “It’s just obvious that you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state…..”
Immigration Is Hurting The U.S. Worker By Steven A. Camarota on April 1, 2007 cis.org
“..The United States needs fewer immigrants, not more. Lower levels of immigration, both legal and illegal make sense for my country because the growing number of undereducated people crossing our borders have hurt less educated native-born workers. The U.S. needs to focus on reducing overall immigration levels. This means a drop in the number of immigrants from Latin America, which accounts for half of the new arrivals, many of them at the lower end of the educational spectrum…”
Of Course Immigrants Take Jobs From People; But They Also Create Them For Others Tim Worstall , Contributor Apr 4, 2015 @ 09:07 AM 15,547 forbes.com
“..One of the standard arguments against immigration is that those immigrants then take a job or two that could have been done by some native born worker. This is, of course, entirely true: immigrants do indeed take jobs that could have been done by someone else, native born or not. However, that’s not the entire story. Immigrants also bring with them (whether they are documented or not) their own set of desires and needs. And fulfilling those desires and needs thus creates a job or two that other people can do: some of those will obviously go to the native born. So, yes, immigration does “steal jobs” but it also creates them. What we’d actually like to know then is what is the net effect: and the net effect is undoubtedly beneficial overall. Thus the reason that economists generally believe that immigration is a good thing..”
Migrant Workers Hurt by Slowdown
Yes, Immigration Hurts American Workers By GEORGE J. BORJAS September/October 2016 politico.com
The candidates tell drastically different stories about immigration. They’re both skipping half the truth.
“..Here’s the problem with the current immigration debate: Neither side is revealing the whole picture. Trump might cite my work, but he overlooks my findings that the influx of immigrants can potentially be a net good for the nation, increasing the total wealth of the population. Clinton ignores the hard truth that not everyone benefits when immigrants arrive. For many Americans, the influx of immigrants hurts their prospects significantly.
This second message might be hard for many Americans to process, but anyone who tells you that immigration doesn’t have any negative effects doesn’t understand how it really works. When the supply of workers goes up, the price that firms have to pay to hire workers goes down. Wage trends over the past half-century suggest that a 10 percent increase in the number of workers with a particular set of skills probably lowers the wage of that group by at least 3 percent. Even after the economy has fully adjusted, those skill groups that received the most immigrants will still offer lower pay relative to those that received fewer immigrants…
We don’t need to rely on complex statistical calculations to see the harm being done to some workers. Simply look at how employers have reacted. A decade ago, Crider Inc., a chicken processing plant in Georgia, was raided by immigration agents, and 75 percent of its workforce vanished over a single weekend. Shortly after, Crider placed an ad in the local newspaper announcing job openings at higher wages. Similarly, the flood of recent news reports on abuse of the H-1B visa program shows that firms will quickly dismiss their current tech workforce when they find cheaper immigrant workers…
When we look at the overall value of immigration, there’s one more complicating factor: Immigrants receive government assistance at higher rates than natives. The higher cost of all the services provided to immigrants and the lower taxes they pay (because they have lower earnings) inevitably implies that on a year-to-year basis immigration creates a fiscal hole of at least $50 billion—a burden that falls on the native population.”
Are immigrants taking U.S. jobs? debate.org
Does Illegal Immigration Disadvantage American Workers? immigration.procon.org
Does Immigration Cost Jobs? By Viveca Novak Posted on May 13, 2010 factcheck.org
Economists say immigration, legal or illegal, doesn’t hurt American workers.
‘..Miller makes it all sound so easy: Eight million illegal immigrants working in the U.S., 15 million unemployed American citizens and legal immigrants — we could cut the number of unemployed in half if we just booted out the illegal workers. “The numbers are simple,” he says.
The numbers certainly would be simple, if they worked that way. But they don’t…
Immigrant workers “create almost as many” jobs as they occupy, “and maybe more,” said Madeleine Sumption, policy analyst at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, which is funded by a range of foundations, corporations and international organizations. “They often create the jobs they work in.” In addition, “they buy things, and they make the economy bigger,” she told us…”
Do Undocumented Immigrants Hurt The Economy? Not Exactly – Newsy
*they pay for social security, which “they” will unlikely see using in the future
The Effects of Immigration on the United States’ budgetmodel.wharton.upenn.edu
“…Despite these increases in labor supply, in many cases immigrants appear to complement American-born workers rather than replacing them. Because less-educated immigrants often lack the linguistic skills required for many jobs, they tend to take jobs in manual labor-intensive occupations such as agriculture and construction. Even for low-skilled native-born workers in these industries, the effects of increased competition from immigrants are ambiguous, as many take advantage of their superior communication abilities and shift into occupations where these skills are more valuable, such as personal services and sales.
Similarly, highly educated immigrants face a disadvantage in communication-intensive jobs, and therefore tend to work in scientific and technical occupations. Highly skilled natives in management, media, and other culture- and language-dependent jobs face little competition from high skilled immigrants. The inflow of foreign labor is, therefore, concentrated in a subset of occupations that tend to employ many immigrants already. Consequently, it is earlier immigrants who face the greatest increase in competitive pressure….
More often than not, immigrants are less educated and their incomes are lower at all ages than those of natives. As a result, immigrants pay less in federal, state, and local taxes and use federally-funded entitlement programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, and other benefits at higher rates than natives. But they are also less likely than comparably low income natives to receive public assistance. Moreover, when they do take public assistance, the average value of benefits received is below average, implying a smaller net cost to the federal government relative to a comparable low income native.
However, immigrants often impose a heavier tax burden on natives at the state and local level. Immigrants — particularly those with low levels of education and income — generally have larger families and more children using public K-12 education, the largest component of state and local budgets. Furthermore, if immigrants’ children are not already fluent English speakers, the per-student cost of education may be substantially higher than for native-born children.
These factors impose short-term costs on state budgets. Over the long term, however, the upward economic mobility and taxpaying lifetime of second generation immigrants more than offset the initial fiscal burden.
Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant On Money By ADAM DAVIDSON MARCH 24, 2015 nytimes.com
“..But immigrants aren’t oranges. It might seem intuitive that when there is an increase in the supply of workers, the ones who were here already will make less money or lose their jobs. Immigrants don’t just increase the supply of labor, though; they simultaneously increase demand for it, using the wages they earn to rent apartments, eat food, get haircuts, buy cellphones. That means there are more jobs building apartments, selling food, giving haircuts and dispatching the trucks that move those phones. Immigrants increase the size of the overall population, which means they increase the size of the economy. Logically, if immigrants were “stealing” jobs, so would every young person leaving school and entering the job market; countries should become poorer as they get larger. In reality, of course, the opposite happens.
Most anti-immigration arguments I hear are variations on the Lump of Labor Fallacy. That immigrant has a job. If he didn’t have that job, somebody else, somebody born here, would have it. This argument is wrong, or at least wildly oversimplified. But it feels so correct, so logical. And it’s not just people like my grandfather making that argument. Our government policy is rooted in it…”
Immigrants Aren’t Stealing American Jobs Tanvi Misra, CityLab Oct 21, 2015 theatlantic.com
More evidence surfaces that low-skilled native workers pursue different jobs than their immigrant counterparts.
“..Urban’s Maria E. Enchautegui studied a cohort of 16 million American workers without high school diplomas. She found that within this group, immigrants and native-born workers do very different jobs. In fact, she writes that native and immigrant workers at this level of education are much more dissimilar when it comes to their role in the job market than are workers at other levels of educational attainment. Here’s how she summarizes these results and their implication in a blog post:..”
Immigrants do jobs natives won’t do openborders.info
“..One of the arguments offered by supporters of expanded immigration, particularly in the context of low-skilled immigration to the United States, is that “immigrants do jobs that natives won’t do.” This argument, in the form stated, is incorrect, or at any rate, misleading. However, it does capture a conclusion many economists reach, which some have summarized as: “immigrants do jobs that wouldn’t exist if the immigrants weren’t there to do them.”
This position has been critiqued by many who are critical of immigration. For instance, in a syndicated column titled Immigration Taboos, Thomas Sowell writes:..
However, the actual economic argument is more subtle, and not so easy to ridicule. The key is to remember that prices not only affect the quantity of labor supply, but also the quantity of labor demand. If the supply curve shrinks inward because immigrants are not allowed in the labor market, then the price of labor increases, but the quantity supplied decreases, so overall, there are fewer jobs and less production…”
Foreign Workers Take Jobs Americans Don’t Want
Jobs Americans Won’t Do? numbersusa.org
“..According to the Pew Hispanic Center, there are approximately 8.3 million illegal workers in the United States. Only 4% of illegal workers work in agriculture (Pew Hispanic Trust, Tables 5 & 6), where most laborers are foreign-born and employers have a legal guestworker program (the H-2a visa) to supply all the seasonal labor they need. Nationally, 25% (of 1.4 million) crop laborers are U.S. citizens; 21% are legal immigrant workers (including H-2a workers); and 53% are illegal workers (National Agricultural Workers Survey). In the midwest, 48% are citizens, 23% are legal permanent residents, and 29% are illegal workers…’
5 Reasons Why Immigrants Do Not Take Natives’ Jobs By Prof. Amelie F. Constant, Ph.D. huffingtonpost.com
“..In my World of Labor article “Do migrants take the jobs of native workers?“ I lay down the pros and cons of the impact of migration on natives and show that ‘migrants rarely take native workers’ jobs, and indeed they tend to boost employment effects in the long term.’ The five reasons are: a) self-employed migrants directly create new jobs; b) migrant innovators indirectly create jobs; c) new migrants fill labor shortages and lubricate the labor markets; d) the high-skilled contribute to technological adaptation and the low-skilled to occupational mobility, specialization, and human capital creation thus creating new jobs; e) by raising demand, immigrants cause firms to expand and hire more workers.
Public opinion research carried out in the U.S., France, Germany and the UK after the 2008-2009 recession also supports that finding. Accordingly, most people believe that immigrants fill job vacancies and many believe that they create jobs, rather than taking jobs away from native workers (see Figure 1)…”
Jobs Americans Won’t Do? A Detailed Look at Immigrant Employment by Occupation By Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler on August 17, 2009 cis.org
“…This analysis tests the often-made argument that immigrants only do jobs Americans don’t want. If the argument is correct, there should be occupations comprised entirely or almost entirely of immigrants. But Census Bureau data collected from 2005 to 2007, which allow for very detailed analysis, show that even before the recession there were only a tiny number of majority-immigrant occupations. (Click here to see detailed table.)
Among the findings:
Of the 465 civilian occupations, only four are majority immigrant. These four occupations account for less than 1 percent of the total U.S. workforce. Moreover, native-born Americans comprise 47 percent of workers in these occupations.
Many jobs often thought to be overwhelmingly immigrant are in fact majority native-born: ..”
‘They’re Scared’: Immigration Fears Exacerbate Migrant Farmworker Shortage 5:48 September 27, 20178:00 AM ET Melissa Block Marisa Penaloza – Square
“..As in the rest of the country, growers in heavily agricultural northern Michigan rely overwhelmingly on migrant laborers to work the fields and orchards. Most of the pickers are from Mexico. Growers say it’s just about impossible to find Americans to do this work. ..”
Wages rise on California farms. Americans still don’t want the job By Natalie Kitroeff and Geoffrey Mohan March 17, 2017 | reporting from Stockton, Calif. latimes.com
Trump’s immigration crackdown is supposed to help U.S. citizens. For California farmers, it’s worsening a desperate labor shortage.
‘..Solorio is one of a growing number of agricultural businessmen who say they face an urgent shortage of workers. The flow of labor began drying up when President Obama tightened the border. Now President Trump is promising to deport more people, raid more companies and build a wall on the southern border…”
That has made California farms a proving ground for the Trump team’s theory that by cutting off the flow of immigrants they will free up more jobs for American-born workers and push up their wages.
So far, the results aren’t encouraging for farmers or domestic workers.
Farmers are being forced to make difficult choices about whether to abandon some of the state’s hallmark fruits and vegetables, move operations abroad, import workers under a special visa or replace them altogether with machines.
Growers who can afford it have already begun raising worker pay well beyond minimum wage. Wages for crop production in California increased by 13% from 2010 to 2015, twice as fast as average pay in the state, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics…”
Milking cows is a dirty, monotonous job, and as we found out in our latest episode of Immigrant America, it’s not a job many unemployed Americans are willing to do. But for some reason the government doesn’t give dairy farms a way to recruit foreign workers legally, so most feel forced to hire illegal immigrants. This makes the farms and their workers easy targets for immigration authorities looking to fill deportation quotas. We went to upstate New York to try to understand the cat and mouse game going on between dairy farms and immigration authorities. We found a lot of wasted taxpayer money, racial profiling, and a broken system that unnecessarily treats family farmers and hardworking immigrants like criminals.
Read more: Unauthorized Immigrants Paid $100 Billion Into Social Security Over Last Decade: http://bit.ly/1o7iyfZ”
Food Prices Will Go Up
What Would America’s Food Supply Look Like Without Immigrant Labor? Wyatt Marshall Jan 31 2017, 2:00pm munchies.vice.com
If Trump follows through with plans to restrict immigration and deport undocumented immigrants, some industry experts say that farms and factories could be left scrambling, and the price tag for food could inflate dramatically.