Increasing Immigration Levels in the United States
For the last three years, heated debates over the issue of immigration in the United States have been evident. Some stakeholders criticize president Trump’s stringent plans to restrict the practice. Despite the ongoing political attacks and legal suits filed by the president’s opponents, Donald Trump and his administration have taken a firm stand on the matter by introducing more policies to reinforce his 2016 presidential agenda of limiting immigration. For instance, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued a policy memo regarding the renewal of H-1B visas. Other defensive measures, including the deployment of military personnel, have also been implemented to prevent immigrants from crossing the nation’s southern border. Rather than taking such abrasive steps, the government should consider increasing immigration levels in the United States to portray humanitarianism, boost the economy, reduce the age dependency ratio, and augment the capacity of skilled workers in the technology sector.
Supporters of anti-immigration policies fail to acknowledge the remarkable role that migrants play in boosting the United States’ financial position. Amadeo asserts that since 2011, immigrants have facilitated two-thirds of the country’s economic growth. While some migrants move into the state in search of work, they also have much to offer in return. For instance, studies show that about 3.4 million undocumented immigrants pay Social Security payroll tax with approximately $13 billion contributed in 2010 (Amadeo). The money partially funds the nation’s social security programs, which promote financial stability among United States citizens. Besides, some immigrants may not be eligible for these initiatives due to a lack of proper documentation, thus making natives the potential beneficiaries of such contributions (Amadeo). The administration should capitalize on the expected growth in the population of immigrants to boost its economic growth by raising more revenues through income taxes from its citizens and non-nationals.
Apart from paying high taxes, immigrants also facilitate the country’s economy by creating employment. According to Amadeo, 30% of United States firms and more than 50% of startups valued at about $1 billion were founded by immigrants in 2011. Evidently, such statistics have surged in recent years, considering the rising number of companies being established by foreigners in the United States. By venturing into business, migrants offer job opportunities to all eligible applicants, including the natives. Rather than developing disruptive immigration policies, the government should reflect on the advantages that such establishments provide to the nation as a whole. Notably, some of these highly valued corporations contribute the most significant portion of corporate tax, which is used to finance national projects. In addition, the administration can generate more income tax from the workers employed in the ventures. Hence, considering such economic benefits, the people in power ought to endorse plans that favor increasing immigration levels in the United States.
By fostering immigration, the United States will also lower its age dependency ratio. Current research shows that the proportion of working-age to dependents in the country has deteriorated in recent years due to the rise in the aging population (Amadeo). The percentage of working native Americans may not be enough to support older adults in the coming years. The phenomenon has a significant implication for the government because the latter will have to spend more on social security programs to meet the financial needs of its households. However, having immigrants in the workforce can easily offset the situation since many of them pay income taxes to support social security and Medicare (Amadeo). If the present administration gave more immigrants an equal opportunity to enter the country legally and provided them with the required documentation, the initiative would substantially lower the age dependency ratio in the next few years.
While setting restrictive immigration policies, the government should consider the harm it causes U.S. firms that rely on labor from skilled foreign workers. Since Trump’s inauguration, the number of visas offered in the country, including H-1B visas, has fallen tremendously. By 2018, the value had decreased by approximately 13% compared to 2016 (Hesson). The trend has significantly affected technology companies, which are the primary beneficiaries of imported foreign talent. For instance, a directive was issued by USCIS, requiring visa officers to “scrutinize visa renewals in the same manner as a new petition” (Hesson para. 12). Consequently, large companies faced uncertainties on whether foreign workers would retain their jobs.
Although the effects of the above policies may appear to be concentrated within the private sector, the adversities are also translated into the nation’s economy. The technology sector contributes heavily to the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The trend indicates that harsh conditions in the industry can lower the country’s GDP. Apart from local personnel, technological firms also rely heavily on the imported workforce, which comes from legal immigrants (Hesson). Given that manufacturers outsource their labor, it would be ideal for the government to formulate policies that favor higher immigration levels to secure a larger workforce for the technology sector, hence fostering economic growth.
Unfortunately, supporters of anti-immigration policies perceive foreign talent as a threat to local labor. Notably, immigrants are said to invade jobs that should benefit the less skillful natives. For instance, it is argued that 43%, 35%, and 27% of agricultural, building and grounds maintenance, and construction work in 2014 was occupied by immigrants, respectively (Amadeo). Hence, the existing measures are aimed at enhancing national security and safeguarding employment for the inhabitants. However, focusing on such an aspect alone appears to be a myopic view, considering the varying capabilities between native workers and immigrants. Unlike the former, most foreigners may portray basic level English proficiency, which means that they are more likely to take contracts that require less communication (Amadeo). Considering the contribution migrants offer to technological companies, it would be valid to argue that the benefits outweigh the prevailing concerns. Therefore, the government should adopt measures that favor immigration into the country.
Apart from the many benefits from the services of migrants, the nation would reap an enviable reputation by promoting immigration because it is a pure portrayal of humanitarianism. For years, the United States has been commended for its involvement in human welfare missions, such as distributing food to hunger-stricken areas and deploying its military personnel to restore peace in the Middle East. Similarly, most immigrants moving into the country are in search of safety, which makes it a social issue. Reports show that many Central American families seek asylum in the United States after fleeing violence and poverty in their domestic nations (Ellicot). Besides, approximately 1.7 million people from Latin America are expected to migrate to the United States and other regions by 2050 due to the growing concerns over climate change, which may cause drought and famine (Amadeo). Being a country that has for long shown its firm belief in the value of human life, the administration should promote higher levels of immigration in the coming years to protect the lives of non-nationals.
Regrettably, humanitarianism has lost meaning among supporters of restrictive immigration policies. To some, the president’s idea to build the Mexico-United States border wall is an act of compassion for immigrants (Lepor). Many people argue that such measures are in favor of non-nationals who may face a treacherous journey in the country by entering illegally (Lepor). On the other hand, others believe that those who seek asylum in the state lack legitimate reasons (Ellicot). However, policymakers cannot deny the existing facts regarding threats that such immigrants face in their own countries, including famine and attacks from paramilitary groups. Hence, more migrants should be allowed into the country to protect them against social, ecological, and political threats.
The United States’ administration should promote higher levels of immigration in the country. The practice would boost economic growth, reduce the age dependency ratio, and augment income generated from firms that rely on imported labor. In addition, endorsing immigration among people seeking safety from social, political, and ecological threats would be an act of humanitarianism by the government. Policymakers should not be misguided by myopic views and misinterpretation of social welfare, which facilitate the formulation of restrictive immigration measures. It is high time that the United States realizes that it has much to benefit from immigration.
Amadeo, Kimberly. “Immigration’s Effect on the Economy and You: Its Pros and Cons.” The Balance, 25 Jun. 2019, www.thebalance.com/how-immigration-impacts-the-economy-4125413. Accessed 4 Oct. 2019.
Ellicott, Val. “Can U.S. Officials Restore Order at the Southern Boarder?” CQ Press, 22 Jul. 2019, library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqr_ht_immigration_2019. Accessed 4 Oct. 2019.
Hesson, Ted. “Trump’s Crackdown Hits Legal Immigrants.” Politico, 22 Dec. 2018, www.politico.com/story/2018/12/22/trumps-crackdown-hits-legal-immigrants-1039810. Accessed 4 Oct. 2019.
Lepor, Rovvy. “President Trump’s Wall of Compassion.” American Thinker, 25 Nov. 2018, www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/11/president_trumps_wall_of_compassion.html. Accessed 4 Oct. 2019.