Immigration to the U.S. has been a controversial topic for years. It is due to the immigration issue’s complex demographic nature and to the fact that immigration has been the source of cultural changes and population growth throughout the country’s history. This paper will discuss and analyze, whether immigration is harmful or beneficial to the U.S.
Benefits of Immigration
An article by the Newsweek reports that carefully controlled immigration can be beneficial to the U.S. Legal immigrants are useful because they pay taxes, help to keep down the cost of some goods and can invest into the economy. A recent study by Migration policy Institute (MPI) states that low skilled immigrants are also found to be beneficial for U.S. consumers. The MPI asserts that the role played by low-skilled immigrants is controversial, while highly skilled immigrants are beneficial for the country’s economy. American citizens generally agree that immigrants take their jobs. Holzer, who is a professor at the MPI, notes that low skilled immigrants in the U.S. will only result in a marginal decrease in relative wages payable to low-educated Americans. He further states that as long as immigrants are employed in the jobs scorned by most citizens, the low-skilled immigration will be beneficial for the U.S. consumers. This factor keeps wages down and as a result helps in keeping the prices of goods and services down. Another reason is that these immigrants assist in consuming local goods and thus help in offsetting the impact of immigrant workers on the country’s labor market. This shows that low-skilled immigration is beneficial to the U.S. For a long time now, businesses in America has heavily relied on immigrants (especially Mexican immigrants), who are willing to work for less, to supply cheap labor. This helped to reduce the price of many commodities, otherwise Americans could be paying more for these cheaply produced goods (Michelle, 2011).
The Harmful Side of Immigration
Immigration has its dark side and that is the reason why many Americans have a history of disapproving illegal immigration. It is alleged that a number of immigrants caused deaths of many American citizens. One specific example is the September, 11 attacks in 2001. Immigrants, who were trained on the U.S. soil turned against their country to kill innocent citizens.
Another disadvantage of the immigrants is that they place a huge cost to the taxpayer and government agencies. Immigrants are found to place a financial strain on the country. Immigrants who fail to secure jobs often end up getting federal social services, like houses, while some opt to live in impoverished regions. While these immigrants may offer cheap labor, legal issues involved with hiring or firing them may be overwhelming. Hiring an immigrant is a crime and firing him/her is a crime too, like in the case of Wal-Mart, when some 250 workers were arrested on immigration charges. The last downside of immigration is that it can result in diluting a country’s cultural identity. This can especially be seen in the states that border Mexico, where Mexican culture has been dominant. Although introduction of things like Mexican food and music can be seen on the light note, losing one’s cultural identity can be disastrous (Hartman).
The essay has briefly highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of immigrants in the U.S. Carefully documented and regulated immigration can be greatly advantageous to the U.S., while uncontrolled and haphazard immigration can have negative impacts. It is vital to realize that immigration can be good to a country if it is controlled. Thus, immigrants can both be beneficial or harmful.