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Immigration to the United States Essay

Immigrants in the the United States have been the backbone for American for centries. People from all over the world have come to live the American dream that so many hear about throughout the world. America has been home to every different natationalty one can think of, and between the years of 1836 to 1914, over 30 million Europeans migrated to the United States. [1] Now, in that time most of those immigrants were coming to America to become citizen of the United States with hopes of finding their own American dream.

Today, the chase for the American dream has become a lot different and the majority of the immigrants funneling into American are the Latin Americans. With the hardships happen throughout Latin America, many are forced into finding a better life abroad. Like many other immigrants in the past, Latin Americans are turning to the United States for a better life. Economist have been trying to understand the effects immigration has had on the United States both positively and negatively for many years now.

It is a hard task to understand the effects that Latin Americans have had on the United States labor market and there are many factors to be understood and many variables to examine. For this paper, I attempt to identify the outstanding influential factors that have charged this new wave of immigrants and effects it has had on the US economy both positively and negatively. The Pew Hispanic Center estimated in December 2012 that there were 11. 1 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U. S. s of March 2011, unchanged from the previous two years and a continuation of the sharp decline from its peak of 12 million in 2007. This decline has been the first significant decrease following two decades of growth up to 2007 [5].

Net immigration from Mexico to the U. S. has stopped and possibly reversed since 2010 and at its peak in 2000, about 770,000 immigrants arrived annually from Mexico; the majority arrived illegally. By 2010, the inflow had dropped to about 140,000, a majority of whom arrived as legal immigrants. 5] To understand the economics of this new immigration wave, one must find the main networks in which the Latin American are using to become part of the US economic system. Latin Americans came by the millions and many chose big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and many parts of the American southwest. The reasoning behind that in somewhat obvious; because there are more jobs in big cities. Although the illegal immigrants were not aiming at high paid jobs in big cities, many Americans don’t see the effect it has had to them personally.

Like many Latin American immigrants, they turned to jobs that are mostly manual labor and require little education. Many choose this route because that is where the majority of Latin Americans can fit in and work in the US economy. When immigrants choose to migrate to another country, they tend to stay together and rely on one another for survival. “They find that most relationships are based on kinship, friendship, and in particular, paisanaje (belonging to a common origin-community).

Ties among paisanos actually appear to strengthen once they arrive in the United States, and this sociological change is reinforced by the emergence of community-based institutions, such as soccer clubs, which bring the migrants together. “[2] Forming a community of immigrants in the same region make it easier to find jobs without having to start from scratch in an unknown world. Like many other immigrants in the past, they want to live close and stay together so it is easier to prosper economically.

Illegal immigrants choose to work for below the minimum wage because one, they are illegal and cannot turn to the government for reinforcement, and two, they are making more money in the United States then they were in Latin America. Also, many firms in the United States would rather hire an illegal immigrant that is willing to work for less money versus an American citizen who is obligated to make minimum wage. When the recession hit the United States, more and more employers were forced to hire illegal immigrants which caused a vicious cycle throughout the American economy.

American tax payers were losing jobs to illegal immigrants that were not paying taxes that ultimately dammaged the economy. Many saw this as a horrible cycle that was strictly caused by illegal immigrants and many make a compelling argument but on the contrary, it drives American citizens to become more educated and fight for higher paying jobs. For instance, “immigrants are usually allocated to manual-intensive jobs, promoting competition and pushing natives to perform communication-intensive tasks more efficiently.

This process, at the same time, reorganizes firms’ structure, producing efficiency gains and pushing natives towards cognitive and communication- intensive jobs that are better paid. “[3] These effects might take sometime to unfold fully and be visible to the American people and the American economy but as history has told us, immigration does had a positive effect in the long-run. When the economy is growing, new immigration creates jobs in sufficient numbers to leave native employment unharmed, even in the relatively short run.

During downturns, however, new immigrants are found to have a small negative impact on native employment in the short run (but not the long run)[3]. Though the share of low- skilled native-born individuals in the US labor force has fallen, employers continue to require less-educated workers in US agriculture, construction, food processing, building cleaning and maintenance, and other low-end jobs [2]. Immigrants, unauthorized immigrants in particular, have stepped in to provide the source of manpower. Unauthorized immigrant workers have been an important source of low-skilled labor supply to the US economy for many decades.

With that, the burst of illegal immigrants moving into a certain region is hard for any economy to cope with. With the millions of people migrating to certain cities within the US, many firms were overwhelmed. Firms could not provide jobs to the American tax payers because of recession so many Americans turned to unemployment, which then relys on the government for support, which is another vicious cycle that has a negative effect through the entire United States. Although many see themsleves as low-skilled workers, other latin americans come to the United States for education.

Parents see a brighter future for their children in America and being a illegal is worth the risk. Also, illegal immigration occurs because foreign workers can earn much more in the United States than they can at home and US immigration restrictions prevent them from entering the country through legal means. Consider the gain to emigration for a young urban male in Mexico who has completed nine years of education (which in Mexico is equivalent to finishing secondary school). Simply by moving to the United States, the worker’s annual income would rise by 2. times, even after controlling for cost-of-living differences between the two countries. [5] The income gain from migration is a result of international differences in labor productivity, with labor in the United States being far more productive than in Mexico [6]. People who want a high paying job in the United States have to come legally. Compared to the rest of the world, the United States has a high number or well educated citizens. Since there has been many advances in technology, many now want to go to the United States for high paid jobs which the demand is increasing.

For this many turn to green cards for legal immigration and will be allowed a certain amount of time to work in the United States. For high-skilled labor, legal immigration is the primary means of entering the United States. Compared to the rest of the world, the United States has an abundant supply of highly educated labor. One might expect that, if anything, skilled labor would want to leave the country rather than try to move here. However, over the past two decades the U. S. economy has enjoyed rapid advances in new technology, which have increased the demand for highly skilled labor. 7] The spread of information technology, among other developments, has created demand for software programmers, electrical engineers, and other skilled technicians. Even with the abundant U. S. supply of educated labor, technology-induced increases in labor demand have made the country an attractive destination for educated workers from abroad. Employment-based green cards and temporary work visas make such skilled immigration possible. Although many Latin Americans do try for a green card, many are turned away because of the long process and abundance of new illegal immigrants already in the United States.

These benefits, however, are not shared equally. Labor inflows from abroad redistribute income away from workers who compete with immigrants in the labor market [4]. George Borjas estimates that over the period 1980 to 2000 immigration contributed to a decrease in average U. S. wages of 3 percent. [9] This estimate accounts for the total change in the U. S. labor force due to immigration, including both legal and illegal sources. Since immigration is concentrated among the low-skilled, low-skilled natives are the workers most likely to be hurt.

Over the 1980 to 2000 period, wages of native workers without a high school degree fell by 9 percent as a result of immigration [8]. On the other hand, lower wages for low-skilled labor mean lower prices for goods and services, especially those whose prices are set in local markets rather than through competition in global markets [8]. Patricia Cortes finds that in the 1980s and 1990s U. S. cities with larger inflows of low-skilled immigrants experienced larger reductions in prices for housekeeping, gardening, child care, dry cleaning, and other labor-intensive, locally traded services[8]. On top of all that, according th laws of the Untied States, any citizen born on US soil if classified a American citizen. This law has caused the many problems for the Untied States and the illegal immigrants are taking full advantage of it. They cross the border into the US and immediately start having children. Now, the law was implemented a long time ago when migration to the US was needed but now it is a big problem because America now has millions of illegal immigrants not paying taxes and not getting health insurance but everything they do requires the help from legal tax payers. It is unfair to all tax payers and puts a damper on the US economy.

Although some undocumented immigrants receive Social Security and Medicare benefits, the majority do not receive any benefits from those programs[10]. Since false Social Security numbers are not directly linked to an individual who can take advantage of Social Security benefits, the majority of contributions to Social Security from undocumented immigrants go into an earnings suspense file. The Social Security Administration factors in the over $7 billion annual contributions from undocumented im- migrants into the Social Security Administration’s calculations and projections for the solvency of Social Security. 10] The retirement of the baby boom generation will lead to increased expenditures for Social Security and additional tax revenue is needed to provide Social Security benefits to current and future retirees. [11] Since undocumented immigrants are ineligible to receive government services, it is estimated that undocumented immi- grants pay an average of $1,800 per household, per year more to Social Security and Medicare than they utilize in services [12] Therefore, undocumented immigrants actually help Social Security and Medicare and help to provide services to current and future retirees.

Moving forward to the the state and local level of immigrantion which sheds light to the impat on a smaller scale. While current rhetoric in the immigration debate decries how undocumented workers steal jobs, immigrants working in the U. S. do not take away jobs from citizens; instead they stimulate the state and local economies and complement the workforce by providing a necessary pool of unskilled labor. [13] Although there are many costs involved, there may be economic benefits associated with having undocumented children in schools that are often not considered.

Higher student enrollment can create more jobs, not just for teachers, but for all educational related services like administrators, maintenance staff, teaching assistants and other professionals, bus drivers, and other school staff which would help local and state economies. The creation of jobs as a result of higher student enrollment often results in an increase in federal funding for schools and can lead to an increase in state and local revenue generated by income and sales taxes. [14] Also, when ore people are going to school there is back school shopping which also has a big impact for business during the year.

Contrary to the implication that immigrants exacerbate unemployment, high rates of immigration are linked to less unemployment [16]. This does not diminish the economy, but encourages specialization and increases wages for native workers [17]. Most undocumented immigrants in the U. S. work in low-skilled jobs and do not compete with American workers. The influx of low-skilled laborers into the U. S. as been shown to slow the decline of manufacturing industries and contribute to the creation of new jobs [18]. For example, the Bell Policy Center found that for every job held by an undocumented immigrant in Colorado, 0. 8 jobs are created [19]. While there are not that many official estimates from the federal government showing how much undocumented immigrants contribute to the U. S. economy, the research indicates that undocumented immigration is part of a positive force that immigration has upon the U. S. economy.


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