OP-ED: The U.S. needs immigrants to fuel the economy

Photo via Creative Commons

Photo via Creative Commons

By Nicole Brown | Published Feb 9, 2017

Hundreds gather on the Canadian border to watch the migration of the Monarch Butterflies as they freely cross the United States borders, while thousands descend on the Serengeti to witness the massive migration of Wildebeests and Zebras as they head south for greener pastures. Migration is a way of life, not only for animals but also for humans.

But today, in the United States, there is a strong movement against immigrants. Many natives in the United States have expressed anti-immigrant sentiments because they believe that immigration results in massive job loss for U.S born Americans. But, according to the American Society, Council of the Americas (ASCOA), the United States needs immigrants to fuel its economy.

The Washington Post states, in a 2014 article, that despite an unemployment rate of 8.1 percent among U.S born citizens, employers still struggle to fill millions of jobs each months. The article reports that the future looks daunting without the arrival of immigrants, since ASCOA reports that over 220,000 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs, which requires a minimum of a master’s degree, will not be filled by 2018, even if every eligible American is employed. Immigrants represent 25 percent of scientists and engineers in the United States.

Immigrants bring strong work ethics with them to the United States. In fact, ASCOA asserts that 68 percent of immigrants participated in the labor force in 2012 compared to 63 percent of U.S born citizens; immigrants make-up 13 percent of the population.

According to the ASCOA, the United States population is aging. This means that a greater chance exists for unfilled jobs and talent shortages that can have a negative impact on the United States economy. The ASCOA contends that the United States will need immigrants to fill the gap, since by 2030, 76 million employees will retire and only 46 million U.S born workers will enter the work force. To sustain the economy growth, the United States will have to add 25 million workers by 2030. This means that the United States will not be able to support retirees without immigrants.

The Huffington Post reports that immigrants’ entrepreneurial abilities create more jobs that benefit all Americans. HuffPost data shows that immigrants own 18 percent of all small businesses in the United States. These businesses generate an estimated of $776 billion and employ over 4 million people. Immigrants and their children combined started over 400 Fortune 500 companies, including Kraft, Google and EBay, the article noted.

Also, ASCOA states c that with every 10 percent increase in immigration, the volume of trade in America increases by 1.5 percent. Every skilled-based Visa that is issued creates over 180 jobs.

Immigrants are determined to educate themselves. The Americas Quarterly reports that one in eight immigrants has an advanced degree. Also, immigrants account for 28 percent of doctoral degrees in all fields, and 40 percent of doctoral degrees in science and technology.

It is detrimental to undermine the reality that the foundation of the United States is built on the arrival of immigrants. Therefore, before Americans begin to accuse immigrants of hefty job losses, they
need to examine the enormous contribution of immigration on the economy and the gift of patriotism in “a first world country” that immigration brings.

Nicole Brown is a senior majoring in communication/journalism.

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