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The Economics of Immigrants

Our economy, embraced as the largest, most powerful money builder, is living off of a backbone of immigrants. America’s economy significantly runs on work done by individuals that do not legally identify as citizens of the country. Policymakers, legislators, and activists have, for a long time, emphasized the dependence we, as a country, have on immigrants the American Media portrays as dangerous. Is it possible that our extremists actions towards an important and pivotal group of people will come back and haunt us? Or have we created an environment so toxic, yet so rewarding that nothing will stop immigrants from wanting the so-called “American Dream”?


Making up 18.1% of our national workforce (Bureau of Labor Statistics), immigrants play a vital, but undervalued role in the upholding of our Economy. The demand for low-skilled labor, which is ever so prevalent, is often filled by foreign born workers with less than a 4-year college degree. Taking up about 30% of the Fishing, Farming and Forest Industry, the Constructions industry, Textile industry, and Food manufacturing Industry, it is no coincidence that the very pillars of the American Economy is built off of a chain of Immigrants. One major point or argument is the very fact that the creation of our magnificent country adhered to Immigrants. Claiming that we discovered our Newfoundland, a group of Immigrants, also known as Pilgrims, settled on the future booming business grounds of Massachusetts. As centuries pass, Americans seem to forget their true origins. A common fallacy that has contributed to disapproval of Immigrants in the Economy stems from the phrase, “Immigrants are taking American Jobs and Benefits”. To gain a deeper understanding of Immigrants themselves and their paramount role in our economy, we must define the word Immigrant. In this article’s case we shall define them as Legal Migrants that lawfully reside within the 50 states of America. These immigrants paid $492 Billion in state, municipal, and sales taxes in the fiscal year of 2019; as well as an estimated 1.6 trillion in income taxes. With heavy input from immigrants in tax perspectives, it’s an obvious analysis that immigrants are paying more than what they receive in benefits.


As the U.S. has been facing a declining population and therefore an inverted population pyramid, the effects of a low birth rate are ever so prevalent. Low birth rates create more of a strain on the younger population to uphold the nation’s economy. The U.S. census bureau estimates that the ratio between elderly people and youth that are of working ages will decrease from 1.6 to 1.3 and will stay stagnant until 2060. The pressure put on the economy when there is an absence of those aged to work, is far too impactful for such a globally relevant country as ours. Being able to ease this tension is an obligatory direction that the United States must go towards. Immigrants, in this way, aid in the increase of our national birth rate. Immigrants and their children hold a significant amount of space in the country’s workforce. The Census Bureau adds that foreign-born populations, aged 18-64, also considered working age, are more likely to acquire full-time employment in relation to their native born peers.


One in eight U.S. residents are immigrants and one in nine native born U.S Citizens have an immigrant parent. This rising number of foreign born residents and 1st generation citizens must compel our society to be more open in our community. As years pass, the percentage of immigrants will inevitably rise- as whether some like it or not- or the economy relies on immigrants to support it. If our country continues its journey in stigmatizing immigrants and labeling them as threats to our nation and its economy- it could one day decrease the likelihood of foreign immigration. The impacts of this circumstance will likely be negative, because, as we have seen throughout this analysis-immigrants do indeed impact our economy in an overwhelmingly positive way. As much as I agree with the greatness of America and its boundless opportunities it provides for its citizens, I have to voice the biggest fallacies and injustices that are present in today’s America. The contributions made by immigrants are, by far, not rationalized enough. For a country to be able to show gratitude to a strong backbone community, they must first accept that they benefit from them. It is time Americans, step up, stop the stigma around immigrants, and for once, realize that they too were once immigrants.


Nidhi Nair

10th Grade

Bentonville High School

@nidhinair_



Sources

American Immigration Council. “Immigrants in the United States.” American Immigration Council, American Immigration Council, 21 Sept. 2021, www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/immigrants-in-the-united-states.

‌Sherman, Arloc, et al. “Immigrants Contribute Greatly to U.S. Economy, despite Administration’s “Public Charge” Rule Rationale.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 15 Aug. 2019, www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/immigrants-contribute-greatly-to-us-economy-despite-administrations.

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