Recent changes in demographics, labor market trends, and other factors reveal that mass immigration in the U.S. may contribute to the country’s renewal. Research has ultimately shown that expanding immigration can improve the U.S. economy and combat the potential rise of authoritarianism in the nation’s politics.
Misconceptions About the Threat of Immigration
Many advocates of restrictive immigration policies argue that immigration has a negative impact on the nation’s economy, culture, and politics. One specific argument is that immigrants take work away from qualified native-born Americans. However, the areas of the country with the largest immigrant populations tend to flourish and progress politically, much more so than areas with fewer immigrants.
Additional research has revealed that employers have largely contributed to the struggle that non-college-educated American workers face, as opposed to increased immigration. Employers have performed actions such as fighting unions, reducing labor standards, and outsourcing work to save money.
For example, employers have gradually changed the shape of the meatpacking industry, which was once a haven for American workers due to the benefits and wages that came with these jobs. By the 1970s, employers began turning to rural areas for production to ensure that facilities were closer to where cattle were raised. Rural areas also suffered from weaker unions or no unions at all. As a result, labor shortages began to develop until immigrant workers began to fill in these jobs, as U.S.-born workers sought to get out from under the intolerable working conditions and diminished wages.
Trends in Demographics
Changes in demographics have also highlighted the problems of immigration restriction. Nativist attitudes seem counterproductive amid declining birth rates and increased life expectancy. Because of these trends, there are more people who are 80 or older, while the number of people aged two or younger continues to decrease.
If the immigration rate decreased dramatically in the near future, there would only be two working adults for each retiree by the year 2060, which would significantly hurt the country’s workforce.
The number of immigrants coming into the U.S. and seeking citizenship will inevitably increase, particularly as factors such as the recent displacement of Afghan citizens and climate change continue to bring people here. Ultimately, attracting immigrants could help America thrive on a cultural, economic, and political level as they contribute to a healthy nation.