Position paper

Immigrant Economy

 

The issue of immigration has always been polarizing subject in American politics and society. The topic is often brought up during election cycles as a lightning rod to stir up voters. However divisive the word immigration is, we cannot be without it. Immigration is vital to prosperity and wealth of the American economy. America wouldn’t be America without immigrants.

The land of opportunity, the land of plenty, and the gold mountain; all of these names were used by early immigrants as they came to this country looking to build a better life. America has long been a country of immigrants, built on the sweat and blood of those who came to this land during the great wave of migration. This huge migration was spurred on by the need of industrial revolution for labor. The American systems of mass production required huge amount of labor to work and the immigrant were the answer to that. The cheap labor made the America economy highly competitive, and prospers tremendously.

Fast forward today, immigration still plays a key role in the American economy. The cheap labor forces supplied by the European migration ended in 1920’s; however it was replaced by Mexican and South America immigrants as the new source of labor.

The economy still relieves heavy on this source of labor to function. The immigrant labor increases productivity for companies and lowers their expenses. This translates to better services at a lower price point for consumers. As companies are able to control their labor cost, they can use profits to expand their business which in turns creates more jobs.

A good example of this model is Bloom Energy Company which specializes in green energy alternative and is the maker of the fuel cell generator server. By hiring Mexican nationals to work in their refurbishing fuel cell manufacturing and paying them in pesos. The company was able to save money and increase their profitability. The money saved can be used to hire more employees or reinvested into the company. This small edge helps keep the company viable against lower costing energy like oil and coal.

 

 

Immigrant’s labor also fights globalization and keep the jobs here in the states. As many companies look for ways to increase profits and productivity they often outsource their jobs to developing countries with lower labor cost. However the trend is changing as cost for transportation, fuel and developing countries own wage increases, it would be far cheaper to used immigrant labor here in the states. Companies like Eddie Bauer and Volkswagen can move manufacturing company out of Mexico and back to the United State, saving them time and money.

Cheap labor equates to cheaper product, produce that are grown in the United States rely on the labor provided by migrant workers. This cheap labor helps lower the cost for consumers. If the wages are too high, the cost would be passed on to the consumer, and if that happen people would look for cheaper avenues like imported produce.

You ask yourself it’s great that we can have this lower wage labor and keep jobs in America, but doesn’t this hurt me? Of course not, research by Economist at University of California, Davis has concluded that between 1990 to 2007 there was an increased in the national income per worker by $ 5,400. Those immigrants here legally or illegally actually helped increased the average wage of U.S. workers and boost the economy.

Also researcher at Colgate University in New York state that most immigrant labor force specialize into more manual labor position, while  U.S. workers  gravitate towards jobs like cashier, bank teller, waiters, sales and other occupation requiring more communication skills. The only U.S. worker feeling an impact is those that have a high school degree or none. The jobs that immigrants take are those with low wages or condition that U.S. workers aren’t willing to work for. This isn’t exploitation but just economics, a dollar is worth more in their country than it is here. These new immigrants are like many sojourners before them that came to America to work and send money home to their family. To American it may seem like low wages but compared to what their income is in their own country it’s more than a living wage.

The immigrant labor plays a tremendous part not only in the economy but also the welfare system of the United States. I’m not saying immigrants are here to get welfare, but they might be the one that saves it for the baby boomer. As the older U.S. worker retire and leave the workforce less money is being contributed into the social welfare system. To solve this problem there has to be a larger younger workforce to support this system. Today Japan is a good example of this situation as their older generation retires and they have a shortage in the younger generation in the workforce, the country social system is running into a deficit.

 

 

 

According to research by Migration Policy Institute, America spends about 219 billion dollars in immigration enforcement. More money is spent on immigration enforcement than all the federal agency combines. This huge spending has equated to 430,000 detainees in the immigration detention system and there is more people being detained for immigration than there is in all of the federal prison system.  It’s important to protect our borders but to spend so much money on immigration is just a waste of tax payer money when immigration is beneficial to us. The money we would save can be implemented into our education infrastructure system.

Immigrants not only help build America they enriched it, becoming part of the melting pot. The labors supplied by immigrants both legal and illegal are not only vital to the prosperity of America but a necessity. Their labor produces jobs, profits, and a competitive edge for our economy. The immigration question should be “where can we get more? “

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