Cole P. Missouri

Immigration is Beneficial

This is a discussion about the major economic and cultural benefits of immigration.

November 1, 2016

Dear Future President,

Immigration is a very complex topic and before we can discuss it you first must need to understand the difference between an immigrant and a refugee. An immigrant is “pulled” to a new country while a refugee is “pushed” from their country of origin due to things such as violence or an oppressive government. It is this kind of misinformation that can misguide people on the topic of immigration, but if you step back and examine the facts you can see how beneficial to society.

One topic of major debate is immigration's effect on the job market and our nation's economy. You will be surprised to learn, though,  how beneficial immigration is to our economy. Let’s look at the construction industry for example.  They hire thousands of unskilled immigrants for work on construction sites; these immigrant workers are willing to do hard labor for much lower wages than most Americans. According to Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California, Davis, “these workers, whether documented or not, don’t compete with skilled laborers but actually complement them.” This point is illustrated well by Adam Smith, author of “Wealth of Nation”, when he says; “Economies work best when workers become specialized and divide up tasks among themselves. These less skilled workers are able to organize and perform routine tasks that can actually slow down the trained laborers.” Some of these routine tasks include, but aren’t limited to, cleaning debris, moving furniture, and installing appliances such as toilets. These workers are adding millions of dollars to the U.S. economy because the fact is, most of these people tend to spend all of their income on the basics needed for survival, and they also add millions to the Social Security fund through income taxes, money which has kept some of these government support programs afloat for many years.

Many people overlook these benefits when they hear about the many terror attacks that have happened all over the world in the past year--attacks such as the one in Paris, France definitely bring light to the question of, "is it safe to have immigrants in your country?" This concern is very real in many immigrant neighborhoods where the crime rates have begun to skyrocket . Sheriff Richard Stanek, the sheriff of Hennepin County, testified to congress about these high crime rates and had this to say: Immigrant gangs, especially Somalis, pose unique law enforcement challenges. These gangs are involved in multiple criminal activities that require sophisticated and resourceful law enforcement investigations, they are also growing in violence most of which traditional U.S. justice tools are rendered ineffective. These very violent immigrants are also known to leave America and fight for Al-shabab committing such crimes as insurgency, sucide bombings, and undertaking in internal terror activities. This calls into question the effectiveness and integrity of our immigrant screening processes and it leaves many wondering if immigration is jeopardizing the security of our nation. This shows that stronger and stricter immigration reforms are needed to secure our country because if we have these extremists leaving our country they must have gotten into it as well.

The crime rates of immigrants are at an all time high but if you look into the issue further you can see that many of the young people involved in crime have dropped out of school and that this problem could decrease dramatically had they initially been provided with the proper schooling. This can be very difficult, though, according to James Meza Jr., the superintendent of Louisana’s Jefferson Parish school system, when he stated that, “ Many immigrant children have experienced difficulty or trauma , and they come to school with high levels of stress, anxiety, and fear; in February of 2014, we had the highest concentration of students with limited English proficiency at around 10%.” Many immigrant children can’t handle this stress and drop out, but can you blame them? Imagine with me, people are walking into this large brick building and they are talking in some strange language that you can hardly understand, a person in fancy clothes sits you down in a big room and forces you to take some kind of test in this same strange language and everybody keeps staring at you. That would be pretty stressful and you would probably drop out too, I know I would. Then, these immigrant children have an extremely limited skill set and then have a very difficult time finding work so that they can support themselves and their families, and many end up turning to crime to get these funds. If the government set aside extra education funds for these children, then schools would be able to hire the needed translators and teachers necessary to help immigrant children succeed in school and learn to be productive American citizens. This solution would save the government millions that otherwise would have been spent on the extra police force needed to deal with the extra criminal activity by simply providing safe education to these at risk students.

So in closing, immigration is a massive and complex issue, but much of the stigma around the issue at hand would be cleared if there were more information readily available to the public. There are countless benefits to immigration, including economic benefits that total into the millions, and with the proper education, more immigrants will easily transfer into the work force or university and not into criminal activity such as gangs. Many will still argue that immigration is a threat to national security, but with the proper screening processes and tighter restrictons on immigration, these people will feel more secure and they may even see immigration in a different light. It is up to you, our new president, to make these policy changes that will once again make America a safe place for all people, and that we will once again be the great melting pot of all cultures.


Cole P.