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Positive impact of illegal immigration on the United States economy


The United States is one of the countries where the phenomenon of migration constitutes an essential factor in its history. Since its inception, its population has been made up of people of different origins, cultures and ethnicities. In fact, currently the population of pure indigenous origin barely reaches 2% of the nation's total.


Until 1960, the majority percentage of immigrants came from Europe, however, in the last 50 years, most of the migrants are from Central and South America, a considerable group being undocumented, due to, among other factors, the enormous economic and social gap between the northern country and the Latin American nations.

It is difficult to know for sure what percentage of the migrant population is undocumented, precisely because they are people who do not answer surveys and try to “dive” so as not to be detected by the system, but statistics indicate that in the United States they live between 10,500,000 and 12,000,000 illegal immigrants, which represent approximately 3.5% of the total population.


The perception of public opinion, linked to the most radical conservatism, has declared that these undocumented migratory flows have negative economic consequences in the United States, in other words, there is the idea that illegal immigrants negatively affect salary levels and rates of employment of indigenous workers, and that constitute a burden for the government.

However, this opinion is not correct, since empirical studies have concluded that illegal immigration in the United States is highly positive for the local economy, for the following reasons:


ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ROBUST THE ECONOMY. The undocumented people contribute with a percentage close to 4% in the payment of taxes, either through the acquisition of goods or payment of taxes corresponding to their salaries. The new inhabitants who arrive in the United States need food and a place to stay, they generate consumption of basic products, growing local businesses. Mexican immigrants, for example, contribute 4% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States. If second and third generation Mexicans are included, their contribution reaches 8% of the nation's GDP. And this, despite the fact that they represent only 60% of the country's undocumented workers.


HELP THE GENERATION OF NEW JOBS. According to a study carried out by BBVA on illegal Mexican migration to the United States, illegal migrants fundamentally access more basic jobs, such as manufacturing, cooking or cleaning, causing national workers with the same level of education to “move up” to higher jobs, communication with the client or supervision, with the corresponding salary increase.


This study also concludes that illegal immigrants do not compete with national workers in obtaining jobs, but complement them, since the national worker, even with a low level of education, has a comparative advantage: English.

Other demographic studies show that there is very little relationship between the presence of illegal immigrants and the employment rates and wages of indigenous workers, comparing the average wages in North American cities with a high immigration flow with the average wages of other cities of the same country with little migratory flow. In other words, the illegal immigrant has little or no effect on wages and jobs both in cities with high migration and in cities with low migration.


IMMIGRATION, EVEN ILLEGAL, HELPS TO BRING THE BEST TALENTS. Many undocumented immigrants constitute human capital of great caliber, literate, highly skilled, and most importantly, FREE, because the United States has not spent a single dollar on their education. A doctor from India, an accountant from Syria, an engineer from Venezuela, an architect from Haiti, or a lawyer from Chile, are some examples of how many migrants come to the United States to contribute their knowledge and experience. They swell the list Albert Einstein, German physicist; Sergei Brin, Russian, co-creator of Google; Isabel Allende, Chilean writer; Madeleine Albright, Czech, US Secretary of State; Oscar De La Renta, Dominican designer; They have all made the United States the great nation that it is today. This factor is so obvious that the technology and scientific industry in the United States, which is one of the sectors that most benefits from foreign talent to keep up with global trends, for decades have lobbied the governments of the day to promote attractive migration policies.


THE UNITED STATES NEEDS MORE POPULATION. Contrary to what is believed, the United States is currently facing a demographic downturn, the truth is that the country's population is aging and the birth rate is in sharp decline, therefore, illegal immigrants will play an essential role in the future. As the baby boom generation gradually moves into retirement, immigrants and the children of those immigrants will play a critical role in generating productivity. As the New York Times asserts in a study on illegal migration, “If anything is to be feared, it is not a horde of workers who are ready to jump the border. The main immigration problem for the United States, thinking about the future, is that there are few low-skilled immigrants who want to cross it. "


These days, the Migration Law Project presented by the Biden administration is being processed in Congress, which seeks to give legal recognition and citizenship to the more than 11 million people who live in this country and who, as we already know, contribute positively to its economy. If successful, all those who have contributed for years by paying taxes and generating wealth, will receive in exchange social and pension rights and the recognition of citizens.