Immigration and the Economy


Immigration is one of the concerned practices that have elicited a very controversial debate. This has normally revolved around its formality and effects. According to Schlafly, the concept of immigration has had a number of the underlying issues, which majorly concern its subsequent effects, especially those on the host state (1). She points out that this has drawn two different arguments based on the legality of the immigration. The division in opinion is clear, those who support immigration and those who do not. They that support correctly argue that immigrants provide cheap specialized and unspecialized labor for major industries in big nations. With this immigrant work force, there are advantages, such as reduced production costs, increased production of commodities, reduced prices, increase in exports, and, eventually, an improved economy. However, those who do not support it argue that immigration poses adverse effects on the host nations’ cultures, traditions, identity, and, above all, the resources. They also argue that immigrants’ human rights are not observed by the host country.

The essay examines immigration by presenting the different arguments made by the two dissenting groups that hold controversial views. In order to decide which side to support, one must carry out reviews and analyze arguments from scholars who have done research in immigration. The common ground is achieved by the analysis of the different arguments put forward by these different scholars in order to make an informed choice.

The Explanation

Immigration and the Economy

Pundit, who has widely supported immigration, argues that the practice normally causes economic growth for both, the immigrants’ and the host country. According to him, most of the immigrants are people who suffer from poverty in their original countries, which is mainly contributed by lack of adequate social programs, insufficient foreign aid, and ineffective economic reforms. Thus, he argued that denying immigrants the freedom to exploit the opportunities in other developed countries is an attempt to prevent them from improving their economic status (Pundit 43). Schlafly, arguing in favor of immigration, claims that it is the concern for the immigrants’ welfare that should be the key determinant in the immigration process (19).

 Polyanichko has equally identified economic reason for her support of immigration. However, unlike Schlafly, she notices the positive effects on the economies of the host countries. In her argument, she gives an example with the case of United States where the immigrants have fully ventured into the “American Dream”. According to her, this has played an important part in the United States. She further argued that most of the immigrants are economically vulnerable and, therefore, work in areas, which have either been neglected or underestimated. According to her, with appropriate regulations, this can increase the overall productivity of the country (Polyanichko 10). Wood, in agreement with Polyanichko, points out that immigrants feel satisfied with the low wages they get from the jobs they do in the host countries. According to him, the immigrants improve their living standards and have a better life than they did while living in their home country. This means that supporting immigration leads to an increase in the workforce of the host country resulting in increased productivity and improved economy (Wood 32).

Polyanichko also notes that immigration, if regulated, helps lower the prices of basic commodities due lower labor cost of the immigrants. She argues that, due to the immigrants’ low education level and lack of adequate skills, the immigrants provide ready and cheap labor services to various companies in the host countries. Furthermore, she points out that because of their low social status, most immigrants work in jobs areas that are despised by American citizens. Therefore, the companies are able to spend low operating cost, especially on labor. This, in turn, reduces the price of the basic commodities (Polyanichko 11).  

Schlafly, who supported Polyanichko’s argument, gave another example. Schlafly had noted that more than 60% of the Mexican immigrants employed in the U.S. companies, doing low paying jobs, have poor education and knowledge levels. He observes that these immigrants are mainly employed in low income earning activities, such as dish washing and moping (Schlafly 35).

However, some scholars have strongly opposed the practice of immigration. The major argument of this group has been based on the perceived negative effects of immigration, especially on the host countries. According to Martinez and Valenzuela, immigration has negatively affected the economic stability of various countries. In their opinion, most of the immigrants are normally economic burden to their host countries because they compete with the citizens of the host countries for resources and the few available employment opportunities (Martinez and Valenzuela 10).

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Robb holds the opinion that immigration has brought to the economic decline of middle-class wages. This has mainly resulted from the exploitation of low-skilled immigrant workers by various companies that has led to adverse reduction in the wage rates paid to the workers (Robb 67).  Chomsky added that presence of illegal immigrants has not only affected the availability of employment opportunities of the middle-class, but it has also affected the availability of job opportunities for both, the native low-skilled and skilled workers. For instance, he points out that some of the immigrants are well-versed in the use of technology. Therefore, such groups of immigrants are employed in various positions that should have been reserved for native skilled workers (Chomsky 264)

Immigration Effects on Welfare and Resources of the Host Country

Messerli argues that immigration should be encouraged because, if regulated, it can increase the cultural diversity of the host country. He observes that immigration allows different ethnic groups and origins to coexist making it possible for them to share their respective positive cultural practices. For instance, he points out that the evident cultural diversity in the United States is mainly due to the tolerance between America’s citizens and the different immigrant groups living in the country (Messerli 67).

Though Schlafly had argued in favor of immigration, she warned that immigration has very adverse effects on the social wellbeing of the native population. She points out that most of the immigrants are poor and, therefore, are not able to acquire basic services, such as treatment. He observes that, in order to overcome such challenges, most of the social amenities, such as hospitals, should come up with programs that would enable them to offer services to these uninsured immigrants. Schlafly argues that the rise in numbers of immigrants has led to a strain on the host countries’ social amenities. The strain on the social amenities is further worsened by an ever-increasing rate of the population growth of immigrants in the host country. Schlafly provides an example of a case in Los Angeles, where emergency rooms of 60 hospitals had to be closed down because they could not withstand the increasing population of sick uninsured immigrants (87).

Effect of Immigration on Society of Host Country

Gregory is of the opinion that immigration should not be encouraged since it imposes security challenges to the native countries. He argues that not all immigrants are legally living in the host country because most of them illegally enter other countries (Gregory 56). Cutler observes that a significant percentage of illegal immigrants engage in criminal activities and exist as fugitives in foreign countries, where they are able to hide their identities. He points out that these criminal immigrants may continue to deploy their criminal activities in the hosting states, hence causing insecurity, as witnessed in most terrorists’ activities (Cutler 45).

Cutler further argued that immigration should not be encouraged since most of the immigrants are poor and, therefore, consume the available resources without contributing much to the economies of the host countries. He points out that the U.S. government spends a lot of money in addressing the low-income status of most immigrants. He highlights that most of the immigrants are eligible to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit that enables them to receive funds from the government without paying back. According to Cutler, this has caused difficulties for most countries as they provide some very basic services to their citizens (119).

My opinion

I support immigration. In my opinion, immigration is a practice that has great potential to provide benefits for the host country, the country of origin, and the immigrants. The world is quickly becoming a global village making immigration and international relations very important. Despite the negative effects that are associated with immigration, properly regulated and well-managed immigration policies are good for the host country. Many scholars have acknowledged the need for proper legislation that can enable countries gain from the economic benefits of immigration, while at the same time regulating the practice to prevent the country from the negative impacts, such as insecurity and strain on social amenities.

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Those who hold opinions contrary to mine argue that immigration causes negative effects. The increase in insecurity caused by the occupation of the country by illegal immigrants and the strain on jobs and social amenities remain their main points of concern. However, these are issues that can be prevented through establishment of proper legislation in the country.

I support the recent advocacy by the United States’ authorities to lawfully accommodate the illegal immigrants and even allow more to enter. This decision will lead to improved economic growth in the long run. The lives of immigrants who work in the USA will improve, as well as the lives of their dependents in their home countries. However, the USA must anticipate the negative effects of immigration and develop policies to address the problems. These policies should clearly handle the management and access to important social amenities by the immigrants without causing conflict between American citizens and immigrants. The agreement must ensure that the economic benefits from immigration do not cause adverse effects on the citizens of the host country. Once that balance is achieved, immigration comes across as a good thing with positive results benevolent to the citizens of the host countries.


Clearly, immigration has remained to be a controversial issue with sharp disagreements between scholars, policy makers, and the politicians. However, the established fact is that though the practice has many disadvantages, it equally presents numerous advantages to the host country, the country of origin, and the immigrants. This has called for establishment of a common ground. As observed, many of the scholars have seemingly agreed that instead of wishing immigration away, it is best appropriate for every country to come up with laws that enable it to benefit from the positive effects of immigration while avoiding any of its negative impacts. 

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