Immigration has always been a way for the US economy to strengthen its economy and industry. In the nineteenth century, for example, immigrant labor helped build much of the infrastructure that is still enjoyed in major cities such as New York and Boston. Today, the debate about immigration has heated up, and some feel that immigration takes jobs away from US workers. However, many experts feel that US immigration laws actually need to be relaxed in order for the US to compete economically.
Some feel that the undocumented workers and even documented workers entering the Southern US border reduce jobs available for US workers because these workers are willing to work for less, effectively pricing US workers out of a market. Others note that these immigrants are often willing to take jobs that US workers do not want and make some industries more competitive with their low labor costs. For example, the agricultural industry relies on low-cost immigrant labor, allowing for affordable food.
At the same time, there is another debate about immigration and economics in the US. Specialized workers and highly educated immigrants are needed to make a number of industries competitive. For example, the IT industry relies heavily on specialized immigrant employees to create innovative new US products. Some companies in Silicon Valley rely heavily on immigrant workers and engineers and would like to see immigration rules changed to allow more specialized workers into the country. Specialized doctors and researchers also come to work in the US from overseas, paving the way for new innovation and US discoveries.
There is also some research that suggests that immigration is good for the US economy overall. According to some statistics, for example, immigrants have founded about 52% of Silicon Valley’s startups. Many students from all over the world come to the US, spending their money enriching the schools with fees and tuitions. However, many experts argue that by making residency and work authorization difficult, the US is essentially providing a world-class education to these students and then sending them back to their home countries, rather than reaping the economic benefits of their education.
There is certainly a need in many industries for more talent and more innovative workers. One PwC survey found that 43% of polled CEOs claimed that the challenge of finding talented workers has put a damper on innovation. Many experts feel that immigration can help close this gap between industry needs and the current job pool.