Illegal Immigration and the Economy Essay

1414 Words 6 Pages
A major national debate rages over U. S. government control of immigration and the impact foreign workers exert on the country’s economy. Sometimes the rhetoric reflects on the benefits but more often it focuses on the burdens being forced on society. While conversations range from bland indifference to outright hostility, the loudest and most incendiary opinions drown out the more moderate voices and dominate the tone and tenor of the dialog.

Americans are uncertain about how immigration is affecting the US economy and this is apparent in the conversation. Most analysts, after considering all aspects, agree both legal and illegal immigrants produce a slight, yet positive, net gain of about one tenth of 1 percent in the gross domestic
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Under the yoke of the Great Recession, people feel threatened by the sudden explosion of foreigners. They perceive immigrants as responsible for the strain on public services and community resources like schools and hospitals. And, in these uncertain economic times, Americans reject diversity and target foreigners to calm the nation’s collective insecurity. There is no doubt all of these issues have some merit but hardly enough to explain the negative attitudes expressed by a growing segment of society.

Business and Consumers are big winners.

To explain current sentiments, it is necessary to explore how the benefits and costs are unfairly distributed to different and separated levels of society. Companies and shareholders enjoy cost reductions from lower wages, pass some to unaware consumers whom, in turn, pocket their share of the profits gained from the sweat of resident foreign laborers. This lack of consumer awareness adds to an immense perceptual disconnect between the benefits and costs of immigration especially when the laborers and the consumers are in different parts of the country.

Unskilled workers respond to competition.

Reduced labor costs have a downside for America’s least-skilled workers and this leads to opposition to immigration. In the two decades prior to 2000, wages of high school dropouts fell 9% due to competition from immigrant…

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