Is US immigration law too restrictive when it comes to workers?

Modern economists seem to agree on one thing — immigration boosts the economy. This is in stark contrast to how most lawmakers view the matter, as many claim that they must place limits on employment immigration to prevent too many immigrants from filling positions that could otherwise go to U.S. citizens. However, a few key factors point make it clear why the current restrictive U.S. immigration law may not be the best thing for the Louisiana economy.

Although it may be hard to believe, there is a labor shortage in the United States. Couple this with approximately 2.4 million new jobs over the last year and there are bound to be problems. But why can companies not fill these some of these positions? In short, American workers are aging. The United States is set to make national history in 2035, when the number of people over 65 is predicted to outnumber those younger than 18.

But workers aging into retirement with fewer younger workers to replace them is not the only problem. This aging population needs qualified health care workers — particularly nurses and health aides — with one prediction stating there will be 2.3 million positions to fill by the year 2025. Many of these new health care workers will probably be coming through employment immigration. Currently, 28 percent of the highest skilled care employees are immigrant workers, with another 24 percent representing the lower skilled care workers.

Immigrant workers not only help boost the economy — estimates say they increase the GDP by 11 percent annually — they also pay taxes, contribute to Social Security and fill desperately needed roles. There are limited numbers of workers allowed per year under current U.S. immigration law, but that should not stop anyone who is hoping to make Louisiana their new home. Through employment based immigration, many people are successful at making their dreams of coming to the United States a reality.