Illegal or undocumented immigrants have been a thorny issue in the United States creating a division between those that support that the immigrants boost the economy and those who oppose them claiming that they are a burden to the taxpayers. An estimated 12 million immigrants live in the US, with an average of half a million illegal immigrants crossing into the US border every year over the last decade. The presence of undocumented immigrants was unofficially tolerated until 2001 when vast resources were pumped in to formulate policies to curb illegal immigration. This resulted in strict checks at ports, airports and US borders. These efforts have not resulted in a concrete agreement to put an end to the illegal immigrants debate once and for all, partly due to political divisions in Washington and the fact that these immigrants play an important role in the economy, even when people do not openly admit (Hoxhaj).
The state of California is a host to a vast majority of these immigrants. Between the years 1965 and 1995, Californian immigrant population shot up six-fold, from 1.6 million to 8 million. Within this same period, the immigrant percentage of the entire state population tripled from 8.2 percent to 24.1 percent. Californias composition of illegal immigrants comprises of 50 percent of Mexicans and Central Americans, 33 percent Asians, 20 percent illegal aliens, amnesty beneficiaries 19 percent and refugees making up 9 percent. This upsurge has transformed California into the most racially diverse state on the land, and if these trends continue it will imply that there will not be a majority racial or ethnic group in the state. The vital role of these immigrants in the California economy cannot be overlooked (Clarke).
This immigrant population is a source of ready labor for the Californian employers. Though their education levels are low, and some even do not have any education at all, they form the vast majority of the low skilled labor force in the state. Most of their services are utilized in labor intensive industries that require low skilled labor. A 2008 survey revealed that 25 percent worked on the farm, 17 percent of construction workers, 12 percent in the food service industry and 10 percent of the production workforce (Kasperowicz). Their departure from the US would undoubtedly be a huge blow not only to the state economy but also to the federal economy at large. Operations in labor-intensive industries will also be disrupted.
It does not take much logic to figure that the influx of immigrants into the US economy would lower the wage rate of Native Americans. This influx tips the supply demand balance, implying there will be more workers which translate to lower wages. This, however, seem not to be the case. A study conducted by the Brookings Institute made the conclusion that illegal immigrants actually raise the living standards of Americans by boosting wages and price reductions of prices. You may wonder how this can be possible. A large population implies that there will be a large and ready market for products produced by the businesses (Matthews and Matthews). Also, these immigrants do not just demand labor; they also create it. Illegal immigrants, therefore, help make the economy flourish.
Those opposed to the influx of immigrants base their stand on the assumption that these immigrants are after the superb welfare of the US. The welfare of the US, however, is not a strong enough incentive to attract people to flock to the country. The welfare system is focused mainly on the old, and not the young. Since a vast majority of these immigrants are young, they usually end up supporting the elderly as opposed to the misconception that they would drain the system resources. Immigrants, therefore, play an important role in improving the social welfare of the state.
Though the vast majority of immigrants have low education levels, there is a minority few who are highly skilled. Innovation is an important element in economic growth. Skilled immigrants can bolster economic growth when their innovative skills are properly tapped. Gordon Hanson, University of California economist, argues that skilled immigrants can bring vital knowledge about foreign markets which can be tapped by American firms. Low-skilled immigrants, on the other hand, play an important role in improving the efficiency of the economy. It is true that low-skilled immigrants are more willing to move around in search of jobs as compared to native-born Americans. The effect of this is that low-skilled immigrants help in the recovery of stagnating economic progress as they will provide cheap labor. Furthermore, low-skilled immigrants help in fostering specialization in the high-end market. In most cases, highly skilled women are married to highly skilled husbands, implying that the vacuum created in performing household chores can be filled up by low-skilled immigrants ("The Impact Of Immigration On California"). In this way, low-skilled immigrants enable highly skilled personnel spends more time doing their jobs, thereby increasing productivity.
Economists are usually interested in looking at the bigger picture. Vast economic literature reiterate the fact that a liberal immigration policy will beneficial to the US economy as a whole. The issue of illegal immigrants hurts the wages of low-skilled native-born American citizens as they compete with the illegal immigrants for available jobs. Looking at the bigger picture, however, the influx of immigrants into the US benefits the economy more. Immigration policies that encourage the tapping of immigrant potential to foster economic growth should, therefore, be adopted.
"The Impact Of Immigration On California". Center for Immigration Studies. N.p., 2016. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.
Clarke, Velta. "Impact Of The 1996 Welfare Reform And Illegal Immigration Reform And Immigrant Responsibility Acts On Caribbean Immigrants". Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Services 2.3-4 (2004): 147-166. Web.
Dick, Hilary Parsons. "Making Immigrants Illegal In Small-Town USA". Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 21 (2011): E35-E55. Web.
Hoxhaj, Rezart. "Wage Expectations Of Illegal Immigrants: The Role Of Networks And Previous Migration Experience". International Economics 142 (2015): 136-151. Web.
Kasperowicz, Pete. "Harry Reid: Illegal Immigrants Play A aCruciala Role In The U.S. Economy". The Blaze. N.p., 2014. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.
Matthews, Christopher, and Christopher Matthews. "The Economics Of Immigration: Who Wins, Who Loses And Why | TIME.Com". TIME.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.
Cite this page
Essay Example on Illegal Immigrants in California. (2019, Aug 16). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/illegal-immigrants-in-california
If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:
- Man Flu Essay Sample
- Free Essay Sample: America and Freedom
- Essay Sample for Students: Gender Discrimination at the Workplace
- Book Review Essay on Loose Ends: Some Promising New Ideas in Organizational Theory
- Free Essay Example. National Football League
- Essay Sample on Role of Technology in Abuse and Stalking
- Essay Sample. Seven Best Practices for the Supply Chain by 2025