Over the last few years, immigration reform has become a hot-button issue for politicians as well as Louisiana residents. The opposition to immigration reform can be loud at times, but it is important for people to be aware of all the positives of immigration in general. Being aware of these things will encourage improvements to US immigration law and help undocumented immigrants get on the path to citizenship.
Those opposed to immigration reform make a variety of arguments to support their stance on the issue. Opposition says that an increase in immigration takes away jobs from native-born Americans and may even lower their wages. However, this is not necessarily the case. Immigration can actually increase the number of job opportunities for native-born Americans. It is important to remember that working immigrants are also spending money in the U.S., which in turn improves the job market in general. Many immigrants also open their own businesses and are more likely to do so than native-born Americans. This entrepreneurial spirit may have a great impact on improving the U.S. economy.
As for wages, a recent economic analysis found that the wages for native-born Americans without a high school diploma actually went up from .6 percent to 1.7 percent between 1990 and 2006 due to immigration. During that time, the average wages for native-born Americans increased by .6 percent because of immigrants. The presence of immigrants also encourages native-born Americans to complete their high school education and, therefore, may improve the U.S. high-school graduation rate.
There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. By giving them legal status, over $800 billion would be put into the U.S. economy and $109 billion in tax revenue. The deficit may also decrease over the next 20 years if reform actually takes place. By legalizing these immigrants, they will also be able to pay into the system that is allowing them to get a public education. The upside to immigration is endless, and while there are two sides to every issue, it is clear that some changes need to be made when it comes to the U.S. immigration system.
Source: Reuters, "U.S. releases immigrant, says unrelated to daughter's plea to pope," Kevin Murphy, March 29, 2014