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Do Unemployment Rates Rise because of Immigration?

With all the spending that has been a staple of the administration under United States President Joe Biden, legislative proposals to fund and balance the federal budget will likely be very contentious later this year. The factors that have forced this spending include benefits paid to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic, the infrastructure bill, and the cost to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The budget is in need of reconciliation, and Democratic lawmakers believe providing green cards to approximately eight million immigrants currently living in the U.S. will help in this regard.

The Current Green Card Debate

The legalization program proposal would include seasonal farm workers, migrants under Temporary Protective Status, undocumented immigrants who arrived as children, and foreigners who labored as essential workers during the pandemic. The Democratic members of Congress in favor of this proposal have explained its economic benefits cannot be ignored. Republicans who oppose this proposal fear unemployment will increase. Their dubious argument is that millions of these immigrants will either end up taking “good jobs” at lower wages or apply for welfare benefits once they become eligible.

Statistics on Immigration & Unemployment

Econometric research conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis proves the assumptions of the Republicans opposed to this proposal are incorrect. In 2017, two economists looked at employment statistics on a state-by-state basis, and they observed that higher unemployment didn’t correlate with higher immigration. In fact, they observed the opposite. For example, in Alaska, there was an exodus of foreign workers between 2000 and 2005, which resulted in a higher rate of unemployment. The experienced immigration attorneys from KS Visa Law, a premier provider of immigration services in San Diego, CA, point out that further statistics from the study don’t show a link between the unemployment rate and immigration.

A previous study that looked at employment data from Miami and the rest of the South Florida region was conducted in the years immediately following the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, when Cuban dictator Fidel Castro allowed open emigration from the island nation to the United States. South Florida received about 125,000 of these refugees, and most of them ended up taking low-skilled jobs at construction sites, factories, and farms. The unemployment rate in this particular segment, which typically pays lower wages, was unchanged despite the sudden flood of new applicants.

Economic Impact of Highly Skilled Immigrants

Once we get to the other end of the spectrum, which consists of highly skilled foreigners such as those who are granted H-1B visas, we see their contributions toward productivity and innovation actually create more job opportunities in their individual business sectors. This was previously observed during the massive waves of immigration from Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. It only took a decade for business to flourish and result in the Roaring Twenties, one of the most celebrated periods in the history of the American economy. All in all, the data doesn’t support the idea of immigration somehow increasing the national unemployment rate.

If you need information about immigration law for workers, seek the advice of experienced immigration lawyers. San Diego residents should reach out to the trustworthy immigration attorneys at KS Visa Law. We can assist you with a wide variety of immigration-related issues, including those related to family immigration and employment. Call 858-874-0711 today to schedule an appointment.

December 2021
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