How immigration hurts America

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, July 3, 2024, 9:06 PM | comments: 0

Immigration is always such a hot issue in politics. To hear some people tell it, the end of days get closer with every person that crosses the border. Now, I'll be the first to say that the way things are going isn't great, but not for the reasons many may think. Legal immigration moves too slowly, and illegal immigration is handled chaotically, to the disadvantage of refugees in particular. If there's a crisis, I think that's why.

But the truth is that most of what is generally said about immigration is completely wrong. History and data objectively make the case that immigration has been great for the United States' economic well being. The CBO says that immigration will generate $7 trillion (yes, with a "t") toward the GDP over the next decade. Some research even shows that immigration patterns lead to better economic outcomes in areas where people settled generations later. Even the George W. Bush Institute, obviously with a Republican bias, says that the net effect of immigration is positive. This shouldn't be that surprising, because more people require more economic activity, which benefits the nation as a whole. Why do you think China is so intent on their citizens having more children?

Immigrants aren't taking jobs from native-born people either. If this were true, given the current volume of legal and illegal immigration, then unemployment would be very high. However, it has been historically low for several years. The labor participation rate of US-born men is the highest it's been since 2002. Immigrants are more likely to start businesses, which in turn hire more people born here. Sometimes they even start things like Google or Tesla, which employ hundreds of thousands of people.

The economic benefits of immigrants are clear and objectively a net positive. But what about other concerns, like crime and poverty benefits?

In terms of crime, the research here is very clear. Immigrants are 60% less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens. That is staggering, and an inconvenient fact for people who want to stop all immigration, legal or not. There isn't really any nuance to be had.

What about the use of welfare and entitlements? It turns out that immigrants use 28% less benefits than native-born Americans. And if you think about it, taxes paid by immigrants working in the US contribute to government income used to pay for said benefits.

So how is immigration hurting America? It's not. The facts do not support this position at all. The question we should be asking is how do we handle immigration in a way that is efficient, humane and just. I am not a policy expert, so I don't know what that would look like, I just know that what we have now isn't it. If we are to place limitations on it, then it should be rooted in data that justifies it, not feelings.

If it is hurting us in any way, it's the feelings of xenophobia and hate that are associated with it. It's not a good look.


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