By James Prumos, Trending Writer
Illegal immigration is one of the most controversial issues in the United States today, with the election of the anti-immigration Donald Trump to the office of President, but also protests by both Americans and non-Americans of President Trump’s planned wall along the Mexican border. One aspect of the immigration that is widely debated is its economic impact. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, there are three issues surrounding immigration and the economy: its impact on Gross Domestic Product, or the “worth” of the economy, as well as the GDP per capita, or population; net fiscal benefit from taxes collected and government services provided to immigrants, and the impact of immigration on wages. In all these cases, non-immigrant workers benefitted little from increased immigration; the GDP per capita decreased even though the GDP increased, non-immigrant workers received a lower fiscal benefit, and their wages were also lowered.
Others have more positive views on immigration. In a student project for the University of Michigan, students argued that one of the main benefits of illegal immigration is that immigrants often undertake jobs that the average American wouldn’t normally perform, namely low-skill jobs that don’t require a high school diploma. Even then, non-immigrants that didn’t graduate high school end up competing with those illegal immigrants for those low-skill jobs.
With that in mind, another big reason for companies hiring illegal immigrants is that they end up lowering the cost of production because they tend to get paid lower wages. This can have positive impacts on the economy in many ways. A lower cost of production can lead to lower prices for consumers, as well as more willingness to avoid adoption of technology that can lower the amount of workers, and therefore jobs, at a company. Lastly, even though illegal immigrants may use government services without paying taxes, they still contribute to the United States economy by spending their wages.
With all these positive and negative effects of illegal immigration on the United States economy, it’s difficult to fully determine if illegal immigration is a benefit or detriment to the United States economy as a whole. Illegal immigration will most likely decline during the Trump administration, so immigration’s impact on the economy should be more apparent within the next few years.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 7th print edition.
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