Much of the conversation and public perception surrounding immigration in the United States is centered on the effects that it may have on the economy, with proponents of stronger borders frequently arguing that immigrants may take job opportunities from American citizens or become reliant on government resources for support. However, a number of studies in recent years present compelling counterpoints to these claims by showing the positive impact that immigrants can have on the national economy. Such research could prove promising for businesses seeking to hire immigrants, as well as individuals seeking to enter the U.S. for employment purposes.
Effects on Growth and Productivity in the Labor Force
Evidence suggests that growth in the size of the native-born labor force in the U.S. is stagnating, in large part due to declining birth rates and the aging of the sizable Baby Boomer generation. Economists argue that immigration can promote consistent growth and fulfill an important role in the workforce, especially in certain areas and industries. U.S. Census data shows that immigrants were the primary driving force of rural population growth over the last decade, and that immigrants make up at least 25 percent of the labor force in occupations ranging from farming and fishing, to maintenance, to food and apparel manufacturing.
Research also suggests that when immigrants fulfill important labor needs, businesses and local economies are often more productive, allowing them to grow and create more job opportunities for everyone in the area. In addition to the growth driven by immigrants without college degrees, economists argue that skilled immigrant workers in STEM fields have significantly boosted the U.S. economy over the last several decades, perhaps in part because of the diversity of ideas that they bring....