Is immigration bad for America? | The Tylt

Is immigration bad for America?

President Donald Trump rose to power in part because of a growing anxiety among Americans about the negative impact of immigration. Americans see communities changing, jobs disappearing, wages stagnating and many pin blame on a surge of immigration. But like with all things, it's complicated. Proponents of immigration say America benefits in the long-run. Immigrants revitalize run-down communities and start new businesses. What do you think?

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The effects immigrants have on the American economy is complex. It's true immigrants benefit America, but it is not true immigrants benefit all Americans. The wealth generated by highly skilled immigration is not evenly distributed. High skilled immigrants tend to be concentrated in a few sectors, typically engineering and tech. Those sectors tend to be concentrated in a handful of regions, typically anchored by coastal cities. The effect is that immigration leads to money flowing to already wealthy people, and not so much others.

What does it all add up to? The fiscal burden offsets the gain from the $50 billion immigration surplus, so it’s not too farfetched to conclude that immigration has barely affected the total wealth of natives at all. Instead, it has changed how the pie is split, with the losers—the workers who compete with immigrants, many of those being low-skilled Americans—sending a roughly $500 billion check annually to the winners. Those winners are primarily their employers. And the immigrants themselves come out ahead, too. Put bluntly, immigration turns out to be just another income redistribution program.
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Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK) and David Perdue (R-GA) are proposing to reduce immigration to the U.S. from 1,000,000 to 500,000. Their proposed bill is in line with the idea that immigration is hurting working class Americans.  

“People with college and advanced degrees are doing just fine. At the same time, we’ve seen record numbers of immigration—almost all of it low-skilled or unskilled immigrants coming here. Of course, that level of immigration is going to hurt the availability of jobs for blue collar workers and put downward pressure on their wages. So I think we need to re-orient our immigration system to look out for American citizens—especially those American citizens who have gotten a raw deal in recent decades. My bill today would be a first and modest down payment by getting a handle on green cards because we give out a million a year and the vast majority of those are unrelated to unemployment and they let in low-skilled and unskilled workers. That needs to change.”
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It's no secret Silicon Valley is built on the backs of immigrants. Many of these immigrants are in the top of their field, with extremely specialized skills. They're not displacing Americans; people with those skills simply don't exist in the U.S. 

"If you look at the great companies driving the U.S. as an innovation hub, you'll see that a lot of companies were started by immigrants or the child of immigrants, like Apple and Google," he said. Apple was co-founded by Steve Jobs, whose biological father was a Syrian refugee, and Google (now Alphabet) was co-founded by Sergey Brin, who was born in Moscow.

Immigrants put more into the economy than the average American. They're more likely to be employed, and they're more likely to own their own businesses. In short, immigrants—they get the job done. 

Though immigrants make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, they contribute nearly 15 percent of the country's economic output, according to a 2014 report from the Economic Policy Institute. The report contains the institute's latest data on immigration and the U.S. economy."Immigrants have an outsized role in U.S. economic output because they are disproportionately likely to be working and are concentrated among prime working ages," the EPI report says. "Moreover, many immigrants are business owners. In fact, the share of immigrant workers who own small businesses is slightly higher than the comparable share among U.S.-born workers."
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Proponents say framing immigration in the form of winners and losers misrepresents the situation. Immigration does not have to hurt blue collar workers. Immigration does not have to benefit only some groups. There are over 200,000 unfilled construction jobs in the U.S. and the 1,000,000 green cards issued to immigrants every year have not destroyed all the jobs. 

The essential point is that immigrants don’t take native jobs on any sort of one-to-one basis. They drive economic activity all the way down the river, creating new jobs in some areas and then pushing native workers into more complicated jobs in others. A comprehensive study of non-European Union immigrants into Denmark between 1991 and 2008 found that immigrants did not push down wages, but rather freed natives to do more pleasant work.

David Brooks points to Houston as an example of how immigration can benefit a region. Houston is a booming city and it's partly thanks to immigrants. 

Houston has very light zoning regulations, and as a result it has affordable housing and a culture that welcomes immigrants. This has made it incredibly diverse, with 145 languages spoken in the city’s homes, and incredibly dynamic — the fastest-growing big city in America recently. (Personally, I wish it would do a bit more zoning — it’s pretty ugly.)
The large immigrant population has paradoxically given the city a very strong, very patriotic and cohesive culture, built around being welcoming to newcomers and embracing the future. As the Houston urban analyst Tory Gattis points out, the Houston Rodeo has so many volunteers it has recently limited their special privileges. In 2015 it had the healthiest philanthropic sector in the nation. The city is coming together to solve its pension problems better than just about any other big place.
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Post by Frank Widmann.
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Senator Cotton is absolutely on the mark. I've heard the old argument that those here illegally only take jobs Americans won't do. That has been proven to be a fallacy. We have many low skilled Americans and the illegal worker takes many of those jobs. In addition, the illegal worker is paid less in most cases doing harm to American wages. Our country needs to start to replace the old and outdated programs where anyone could come in with programs which recruit skilled workers.
Post by Charlotte Di Ioli.
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Post by Kate McCarthy.
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Post by Jared Bunker.
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Is immigration bad for America?
#ImmigrationBad
A festive crown for the winner
#ImmigrationGood