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Immigrants & Their Effect on the U.S. Workforce

A couple of months into the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, United States President Donald Trump stated he had a plan to ensure Americans who lost their jobs would be first in line when trying to get them back. The plan involved closing down the borders and limiting immigration as much as possible. As can be expected in a nation where immigrants represent a significant portion of the workforce, Trump faced backlash and strong criticism for this plan.

With COVID-19 cases increasing and the influenza season looming on the horizon, American workers will continue to face hardships in terms of getting back to work. Trump’s idea to force employers to hire Americans first actually makes sense in light of the current state of the U.S. economy, but the nuances of the labor market will eventually require the mass hiring of immigrants.

Economists who have studied the surge of the immigrant workforce in the U.S. since the 1970s have mostly found immigration has net positive effects on the overall American economy. However, this doesn’t mean labor market conditions have improved for all workers. A common argument against hiring immigrants is that this practice has eroded wage growth, but even researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank doubt this has been the case. One oft-cited example is that of a riveter in a metal machine shop who used to earn $13 an hour in the 1980s. These days, such wages for riveters can only be found in certain cities, but immigration has nothing to do with this erosion of wage growth because employers are the ones managing their payrolls, and they follow federal and municipal laws to this effect.

As for the supply of labor, there’s no question that immigrants contribute to its expansion. The experienced immigration attorneys from KS Visa Law, a premier provider of immigration services in San Diego, CA, suggest the historically low unemployment rate the U.S. enjoyed before the pandemic has everything to do with foreign employees, from H-1B visa recipients to seasonal migrant workers. Low unemployment rates create multidimensional demand. Foreign workers in the U.S. need homes to go to after their shifts, and they also need to eat, pay utilities, purchase household goods, obtain personal items, and spend on entertainment. The more workers you have, the more they’ll spend, even if they’re sending a big chunk of their paychecks to their home countries as remittances.

Another impact of immigrants in the labor force is uniquely American: these workers have to pay taxes and contribute to the Social Security Administration, but they’re legally barred from accessing those benefits unless they become legal residents. Migrants who arrive every season to work on U.S. farms are major drivers of the national economy. The contributions they make each labor season enrich social security programs, which in many cases provide monetary as well as healthcare benefits to Americans who aren’t able to work or pay taxes.

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

May 2024