A complaint against immigrants that we often hear is, “They take our jobs.” Donald Trump, for example, said at a Phoenix, Arizona campaign rally in 2015, “I love the Mexican people … I respect Mexico … but the problem we have is that their leaders are much sharper, smarter and more cunning than our leaders, and they’re killing us at the border. They’re taking our jobs. They’re taking our manufacturing jobs. They’re taking our money. They’re killing us.” However, a new study reveals that this claim is just not true.
So, what is the truth? A report published on Wednesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concludes that immigrants do not take American jobs. The report compiles research from 14 leading economists, demographers and other scholars, including some, like Marta Tienda of Princeton, who write favorably about the impacts of immigration and others who are skeptical of its benefits, like George J. Borjas, a Harvard economist. Here’s what the report says:
- “We found little to no negative effects on overall wages and employment of native-born workers in the longer term,” said Francine D. Blau, an economics professor at Cornell University who led the group that produced the 550-page report.
- Some immigrants who arrived in earlier generations, but were still in the same low-wage labor markets as foreigners just coming to the country, earned less and had more trouble finding jobs because of the competition with newer arrivals.
- Teenagers who did not finish high school saw their hours of work reduced by immigrants, although not their ability to find jobs. Professor Blau said economists had found many reasons that young people who drop out of high school struggle to find work. “There is no indication immigration is the major factor,” she said.
- High-skilled immigrants, especially in technology and science, who have come in larger numbers in recent years, had a significant “positive impact” on Americans with skills, and also on working-class Americans. They spurred innovation, helping to create jobs.
“The prospects for long-run economic growth in the United States would be considerably dimmed without the contributions of high-skilled immigrants,” the report said. It did not focus on American technology workers, many of whom have been displaced from their jobs in recent years by immigrants on temporary visas.
The report called immigration “integral to the nation’s economic growth” because immigrants bring new ideas and add to an American labor force that would be shrinking without them, helping ensure continued growth into the future.
While it is always tempting to blame our problems – economic and otherwise – on others, it is unfair to accuse immigrants of taking American jobs. Political policies based on reckless untruths threaten the economic well-being of our nation and its citizens. Our focus must be on responsible immigration policies that encourage innovation, support entrepreneurship (and the creation of new jobs arising from new businesses) and allow employers to fill the jobs that Americans don’t want. Such policies are good for both native-born Americans and newcomers, as well.
If you need the help of an immigration attorney, please contact us today to schedule your consultation. With forty years of experience as immigration law specialists, we can offer you the help and advice you need for a successful transition to the U.S.