Economic Impacts of Immigrants in the United States

Economic Impacts of Immigrants in the United States

I. Introduction

The United States is a country of immigrants and their descendants. Now, more than ever, immigration has become one of the most discussed and controversial topics in recent public and politics, as United States have faced influx of millions of immigrants. It has been reported that nearly 40 million immigrants, including both legal and illegal, are living in this nation (Camarota). The increasing number of immigrants in the United States has given a rise to following questions: How do immigrants in the United States affect the U.S economy? Are newcomers from other countries actually helping the U.S economy? Supporters of immigrants working in the United States argue that immigrants are boosting our economy. Legal immigrants promote the growth of U.S economy through adding innovation and productivity in highly skilled field. Illegal immigrants add labor force to the labor market and boost the economic activity in consumer market by producing more products. Shika Dalmia, senior columnist at, said “Accepting more immigrants are wins for everyone since immigrant workers escape poverty, business owners gain unfulfilled productivity, and consumer gets product in cheaper price” (Panel Discussion). On the other hand, negative views of immigrants working in the United States assert that immigrants, particularly illegal immigrants, are ruining the economy by taking benefits of welfares of the government and taking jobs of American-born natives. In this paper, I will demonstrate how immigrants, both legal and illegal immigrants, are affecting the economy of the United States. Statistics and analyses of many economists have shown that activities of immigrants, whether illegal or legal, are promoting the growth of the economy, by adding productivity in both educated field and low skilled field, and by fulfilling demand that labor market needs.

Impact in Economic activity of the U.S

        Before we look in depth of this topic that I am going to elaborate, I have to mention that I am focusing solely on economics, not ethics of the immigration. Should we allow illegal immigrants to come into the United States? My answer is no, because they are not documented. However, in terms of economics, immigrant workers in general take a huge role in the U.S economy. Immigrant workers provide a boost to the U.S economy by making the economy more productive and innovative. [pic 1]

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The data table (Figure 1) above from BBVA research shows that foreign-born workers are contributing about 15 percent to 16 percent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the United States annually, which is about 12 billion dollars to 18 billion dollars worth of product (Murray). This graph also indicates that more immigrant workers are equivalent to higher rate of productivity. As one could see from the chart, it is obvious that the immigrants’ contribution to U.S economy is increasing. The influence that immigrants have in U.S economy is immense that U.S economy would shrink significantly without immigrants.

Immigrant workers promote the economic growth by adding innovation and creativity in the highly skilled field. The Economic Report of the President stated that most of the workers, 29%~50% of the scientists, in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) field are, in fact, immigrants (Lawrence 7). Immigrants in the United States enhance the productivity in the STEM field by cooperating with American natives. Even within skilled group, various thoughts and talents that immigrants and natives bring to the market might complement to each other instead of competition. Not only they are exceptionally productive and innovative within the field, they add the entrepreneurship in the field. During the panel discussion at University of Rochester, one of the panelists Shika Dalmia stated,

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