By Mallory Schlabach, Editor in Chief
Face the Facts
Anti-immigration activists believe that more immigrants arriving in the country will take away native-born American’s jobs, cause the country to lose its English tongue and plunge the economy down the drain.
If immigrants take away everything Americans have worked so hard to create, what about the babies born each day or the college graduates that enter the work force each May and December. Would the influx of Americans not wreck havoc on the labor market? Of course not because babies eat food, and college graduates buy houses and cars and work long hours at mediocre jobs.
It’s the same principle with immigration. Every immigrant who enters the country has to eat and have housing, thus creating more need for housing developments and restaurants, which builds the economy.
If one looks at the history of America’s policy on immigration, its not a record of policies that hurt the United States.
In the 1960s, immigrants came over for family unification purposes, and equal opportunity was given to all immigrants, regardless of the country they came from. This abolished the 1924 Immigration Act that allowed immigrants to come into the country at the proportion to which were already here, thus discriminating against Asian and African immigrants and favoring European immigrants.
In 1986 Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act to punish employers that hired illegal immigrants in an effort to curb immigrants crossing the border for economic purposes.
What company that has people willing to work without having to pay additional wages will tell the government their workers are illegally from Mexico?
Until 1994, debate over immigration focused on illegal aliens that had slipped across the Mexican border, although most of the illegal immigrants in the country were from legal immigrants overstaying their visas. Instead of solving any border problems, this just shifted the immigration flow from the main entry point cities along the border into the desert.
Immigration has intrigued economists during the past 25 years because of how often the immigration debate rages across the country.
Economist David Card conducted a study of the 1980 Mariel boat lift, in which 125,000 Cubans were suddenly allowed to emigrate to the U.S. Card studied the effect the Cubans had on Miami, the city in which most of them remained in because of proximity and the Cuban demographics already there, and the labor market.
He compared Miami to four other cities that hadn’t suddenly grown because of immigrants. He found that by 1985, Miami had successfully absorbed 7 percent more people without fluctuating the labor market or causing wages to increase. In the control cities, unemployment was actually higher than in 1980 because no one wanted to do the less appealing jobs.
Immigrants tend to take the jobs that Americans feel they are too educated to do, which means jobs are not taken away from anyone, and wages can remain as they are because employers don’t have to pay more for an American to do the job.
In the mid-90s, an economist studied the immigration surge of Russian Jews to Israel to see what type of occupations they took. She found that the Russians weren’t taking jobs away from the Israelis. Instead, the Russians appeared to be gravitating towards the less attractive jobs. If Israelis held these positions, they often were promoted instead, which left the Russians to compete against each other for the positions.
If immigrants don’t hurt the economy like people in America are crying, then what is the debate really about? Are people merely forcing immigrants out for racial and prejudical reasons?
Keeping immigrants, legal or not, out of the country will not solve anything.
America absorbed immigrants in the 1920s when they came over by boats from Europe. It was precisely these immigrants that have created what and who America is today. Think of what America could look like in 50 years when more immigrants find their place in the land of the free.