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Immigration Policies and Reform

Today, you cant go far in any type of political event, without hearing
something about immigration. It has become one of the most politicized
pieces in economics. Opinions range from completely eliminating our
borders, and letting whoever wants to come in, in our country to building a
wall or complete shut down of immigration from certain countries into
America. Liberal Americans, mostly democrats, agree that allowing more
immigration would be good for America and good for the economy.
Conservative Americans, mostly republicans agree that immigration is good
but only if there is some kind of way to monitor its effects as it happens.
Many republicans think that our current rate of immigration is too high.
Especially our rate of illegal immigration. According to pewresearch.org 71%
of republicans say immigrants are making the economy worse. They also say
the crime will rise in areas of high immigrant population. Many democrats
think that our idea of illegal immigration, in America, is outdated.1 Many
want to change the path to citizenship to be easier and less strenuous.
Democrats on the other hand, 55%, think that immigration helps the U.S.
economy and jobs. Both parties agree though that immigration makes crime
more likely.2 There are the ideas of extremes, but most people lie somewhere
1 Jens Manuel Krogstad, On Views of immigrants, Americans largely split along party
lines, (pewresearch.org, 2015)
2 Jens Manuel Krogstad, On Views of immigrants, Americans largely split along party
lines, (pewresearch.org, 2015)

in the middle of all this stuff. To me, it comes down to a couple of basic ideas.
Before I explored my reasoning, I researched other opinions and evidence
supporting each side.
The arguments for each side are almost endless. The left side of the
isle talks so often about human rights. The right talks about job loss in
America. Ive decided to do my own research and look solely on the
economic side of things. So the question I want to answer is this, Is
immigration good or bad for Americas economy.
I started my research and the first thing that pulled up was a report by
NBC of a statement released by a liberal leaning, non-profit3 organization
addressing immigration and its effects on the economy. They bring out many
point about how immigrants have little to no effects on wages of the
community as well as jobs. They make the claim that Unauthorized
immigrants are good for state and federal budgets.4 They mention that
often undocumented or illegal immigrants will pay taxes and social security
while not demanding a tax refund or taking advantage of social security
benefits for fear of deportation. In this article the liberal non-profit admits,
that an economy that is weak and not ready for change may have negative
effects on native born workers. This is particularly prevalent in jobs that
require little or no education. They also mention that in a strong economy,
3 Jacob Passy, 5 Things to Know About Immigration and the U.S. economy,
(nbcnews, 2014)
4 Passy, 5 things to Know About Immigration and the U.S. Economy

heavy immigration can actually be good and represent a boon to job


figures.
Based on this article it appears that immigration doesnt have to be
bad. Based on Americas current situation though, heavy immigration, could
be devastating to our jobs that require little skill. Also, in mine own
experience with illegal immigrants, some do take advantage of state
sponsored programs such as schooling for their children. One mother I knew
even participated in welfare programs for her children.
I continued my research and found a more conservative opinion. American
Quarterly posted an article in 2007 stating, research on this question
indicate that allowing in so many immigrants (legal and illegal) with
relatively little education reduces the wages and job prospects for Americans
with little education.5 The evidence he provides for this is that the more
workers you have in the system the lower wages will fall forcing uneducated,
low-income, workers out of the labor force. Camarota explains that the U.S.
economy cant keep up with such a high rate of immigration. He says that
minority communities such as black communities are getting hit the hardest
with heavy immigration. The article then goes to state numbers. It shows
how low-income, low-education, native-born Americans are losing jobs at a
really high rate. This piece was very informative but, lacked economic
principles.
5 Steven a Camarota, Immigration is Hurting The U.S, Worker, Americas Quarterly,
Spring 2007 (retrieved from cis.org)

After researching this topic Ive realized that for both side to come to an
agreement about what to do about immigration is a longshot. I think in this
aspect its one that each person must and will decide for themselves what
they think will be best. For me, I tend to look at research and science. I tend
to look at what has been proven and what has been disproven. For this
particular situation Ive decided to go back to economic theory. I decide to
look at the law of supply and the law of demand. Much like products, labor
can be represented and treated like a product. The employer is the buyer of
the good and the employees time is the actual good the employer is paying
for. Imagine a graph with the vertical axis representing price or wages and
the horizontal axis representing the quantity of labor. Lets say in this graph
we have an equilibrium of $15 and quantity supplied of labor at 100 workers.
Some determinants that would shift the supply curve will be the amount of
suppliers. Since in this case workers or people represent the suppliers of
labor or time the more workers we have who can provide us this good, the
more our supply curve will shift. Because there is an increase in supply of
labor the curve will shift to the right. A population that once had a wage of
$15 dollars per hour will have to decrease, based on the law of supply.
Referring back to our graph we can see that our graph that once showed an
equilibrium of $15 and 100 workers may now shift to be $7.25 and 150
workers. At a steady rate, demand for labor can keep up with these new
labor hours. If America can innovate and grow demand fast enough,
immigration shouldnt be a problem economically. The rate were at now, in

America, suggests that were not creating demand fast enough. This in turn
will drive down prices or in this case workers wages. If America were doing
better economically and growing at a faster rate and investing and spending
and creating demand, immigration makes total sense. In todays America
though, many people are afraid to invest and spend. They choose, often
times to put money into savings instead. This has to do with the recent
recession we were in. Based on this information, heavy immigration, as of
right now, is not a good route for the U.S. economy. Immigration is what
made America the greatest country on earth so completely stopping the flow
of immigrants into the country is not a good idea. Through immigration
America has become an innovative and diverse powerhouse. The country
and our legislature needs to make elastic laws that can change the number
of immigrants coming to America based on our financial situations. If our
demand for labor cant ensure a living wage, we need to keep our supply of
labor at a low level. Immigration will only increase supply forcing down
wages.

Works Cited
Camarota, S. A. (2007). Immigration Is Hurting The U.S. Worker. Americas Quarterly
.
Krogstad, J. M. (2015). On views of immigrants, Americans largely split along party
lines. Pew Research Center.
Passy, J. (2014). 5 Things to Know About Immigration and the Economy. NBC News.