Spreading the Wealth: Immigration Increases Employment Rates for U.S. Workers

By Brianne Donovan, Sumner Immigration Law Clerk

In light of recent immigration restrictions, we would like to remind everyone of the economic benefit (among many other benefits) that immigrants bring to the United States. Recently, the Business Roundtable created a study examining the positive economic impact that immigration creates.

The report found that immigration increases:

  • Consumer spending,
  • Productivity of capital,
  • Increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP),
  • Jobs for U.S. workers;
  • Business investment;
  • Entrepreneurship; and
  • Patents.

In fact, GDP increases by 1.15% percent for every 1% of immigrant population increase. Immigration fills gaps in the labor market which allows American businesses to successfully expand, creating more opportunities for everyone, immigrants and U.S. workers alike. Between 1990 to 2007, immigration helped increase income for “the average U.S. worker” by over $5,000.

Moreover, many immigrants carry an entrepreneurial spirit and are “more likely to start a business than native-born U.S. citizens.” By creating businesses, immigrants are able to employ many U.S. workers. The Business Roundtable found that “almost 44% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants and their children.”

Specifically, this study examines the effects of Optional Practical Training (OPT) restrictions. OPT is a student-work visa program, allowing foreign nationals who attend U.S. universities the ability to work for 1-2 years (depending on the subject studied). The Business Roundtable found that if OPT were restricted, nearly half a million U.S. born workers would lose their jobs by 2028 and GDP would also be effectively reduced.

The Business Roundtable is not the only organization to study the incredible economic impact of immigration. Forbes has also reported that, “immigrants do not increase the unemployment rate of natives, nor do they lower the labor force participation rate of natives. In fact, it appears the opposite may be the case.”

While citing a research report by the National Foundation for American Policy, Forbes reports that “[a] 1 percent point increase in the share of the labor force comprise of immigrants appears to reduce the unemployment rate of U.S. natives in the same sex-education group by 0.062 percentage points, on average.”

Forbes also cites economist and philosopher, Bernard Williams. Sir Williams stated, “[O]ne of the most persistent and recurrent fallacies in popular thought is the notion that immigrants take away the jobs of native Americans. This rests on the misconception that only a fixed number of jobs exist in any economy and that any newcomer threatens the job of any old resident.”

Because unemployment rates are soaring across America at the moment, it is critical for both immigrants and U.S. born workers, to rationally consider the impact immigration has on American jobs and the economy. By restricting immigration, we might in turn, be increasing U.S. unemployment even further.

We are here to help you navigate the immigration maze with peace of mind and confidence. Contact Sumner Immigration Law to set a consultation to create your strategy today! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the US and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email to info@sumnerimmigration.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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