Multiple Reports Evidence the Benefits Immigrants Provide the U.S.24 Aug 2016
Despite overwhelming evidence that immigrants create jobs, increase wages, and pay billions in taxes annually, the fallacy that immigration has a detrimental effect on the U.S. economy has persisted for generations. As we head into the home stretch of this election season, the topic of immigration reform is poised to become fodder for heated debate among the presidential candidates and their respective constituents. It is timely, then, that new data released this summer from several institutions reveals the wide-ranging economic benefits of immigration, as well as our changing attitude towards immigrants and what they offer.
Earlier this month, the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research group, released a report that tackled one of the most pervasive myths regarding nonimmigrant workers: that the tech industry routinely hires H1B workers because they can be paid lowered salaries than comparable U.S. workers. As detailed in the report, study after study has found that H1B workers generally earn salaries that are at least as high as those paid to U.S. workers with similar levels of education and experience. And, this doesn’t even take into account the added costs and work-start delays U.S. employers face when hiring H1B workers; clearly, U.S. employers are willing to take on these extra costs and bureaucratic hurdles because they simply cannot find enough U.S. workers to fill these positions when and where they are needed. [See Trump Misses the Point on Tech Visas by Jason L. Riley, The Wall Street Journal, 16.Aug.2016.]
The NFAP is not the only organization that recognizes how important foreign national workers are to the United States. The Partnership for New American Economy (PNAE), a bipartisan coalition founded by Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch, launched a new campaign that aims to increase support for immigration reform. The campaign, called Reason to Reform, is bolstered by individual reports from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, detailing the contributions of immigrants to the markets and the economy.
The report for California finds that immigrant-owned businesses generated over 20 billion dollars for the state in 2014 alone. The state report for Nevada reveals that immigrants or their children founded three quarters of the state’s Fortune 500 businesses. Meanwhile, the report for Texas confirms that its immigrant residents paid nearly 30 billion dollars in state and federal taxes in 2014. Though immigrant contributions vary from state to state, the PNAE is confident that its data confirms a simple but important fact: immigrants are an asset to our country, and reform is necessary for them to continue to strengthen our nation.
As Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and a member of the coalition explained to NBC News, “This campaign is an important reminder that there is, and there always has been, a broad coalition that supports immigration reform. That support is built on the recognition that immigration is a vital asset to our economies and to our communities. We’ve got to do the job of managing that asset well.” [See Can Facts on the Economic Benefits of Immigration Bring Reform in 2017? by Suzanne Gamboa, NBC NEWS, 3.Aug.2016.]
The NFAP is pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, including increases in the number of H1B work visas and immigrant visas (i.e. green cards) issued each year to high-skilled workers, greater flexibility for foreign nationals to change employers, and the creation of a start-up visa to allow foreign national entrepreneurs to pursue the American dream. Given the wealth of studies showing how beneficial immigrants are to the U.S., it is high time that politicians and individuals seeking office stop blaming foreign national workers for our woes, and start thanking them and fighting for improvements to our immigration system, to allow them to keep coming here!
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