Economic Impact of Legal and Illegal Immigrants on United States Term Paper

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¶ … Immigrants: Economic Impact on the United States

The United States is a nation of immigrants. This is undisputed. But what has been the impact of migration on the U.S. economy? Are there applicable the same trends that were applicable in the 1980s when an important pro-migration movement was born? Have the difficulties of the new millennium overcome the benefits and has migration become a plague of the modern society? These answers and many others will be provided herein in an in-depth analysis of the causes of migration and its results.

Why do people migrate?

The main reason determining people to immigrate to the United States of America is the hope of economic gain, better living conditions for themselves and, often, the chance to help their families from home.

A large number of immigrants form the so-called "brain drain," that is very smart and well educated individuals with a lot of potential that are either employed by large American companies or are offered academic scholarships and, then, are employed.

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Last but not least, there are the people who are literally fleeing from their countries of origin to the haven they believe the United States of America to be for them. These are the asylum seekers and the refugees. Although, practically, the United States is very hard to reach for persons fearing persecution in their country of origin, unless they travel by boat or plane, it holds a large number of refugees and asylum seekers due to the reallocation programs of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The reallocation programs are meant to offer relief in regions where large number of asylum seekers and refugees gather, i.e. countries that are in their easy reach, due to easy transportation or to already established people smuggling methods and countries that are situated next to conflict areas. Consequently a number of developed countries with lower numbers of refugees offer to receive a certain number of people. The United States of America has constantly been involved in this kind of programs and, therefore, now has a large number of refugees.

Who are the immigrants?

Term Paper on Economic Impact of Legal and Illegal Immigrants on United States Assignment

May there be economic reasons or humane ones; they must be very strong in order to determine people to live their homes, their country, lives, jobs and head on the path of migration. Most of them migrate illegally and this takes even more courage and determination, as their very lives and health is at risk.

Statistics have shown that immigrants, legal or illegal, are in the large majority young, strong, healthy, courageous and determined people. They come to gain a better living and they are prepared to surpass all obstacles and work as hard as they can in order to make a life for themselves or help their families at home. Usually families send their youngest and strongest members to work in the United States and support them financially.

An even greater percent of strong bold people is to be found amongst the illegal immigrants, as they have to surpass very harsh trials and a lot of barriers to get into the country and then to make it without getting caught.

Considering the set forth, there has been a large number of theories showing that immigrants are beneficial for the United States because they come with strong, smart, young forces.

Stanislav Kelman, in his study: "New People: Influence of Immigration on American Economy" expressed and supported the thesis that: "Although many Americans believe that immigration has a negative effect on the United States economic development, recent sociological studies have proven otherwise. Studies show that most immigrants are well educated, skilled, and highly motivated people who can contribute to America's economic growth."

He mostly refers to the phenomena called brain-drain. This is the process in which some of the greater American companies have been and are recruiting personnel from the developing countries. They are recruiting the best of the best, people with the right education, with great skills, who have obtained very good results in their work or in school. The most common form is recruiting people straight out of school based on their academics results, results in national and international competitions, relevant work and recommendations from professors and tutors. The employment of persons who already have a level of experience is less common than that of recent graduates.

Another form of brain-drain is the academic one, through scholarships. The best graduate and undergraduate students are recruited to study for a period of time in the United States and then they are hired here, in order for them to be able to make use of their knowledge. Other cases are those of professionals who are offered the possibility of a PhD or a master's course and are then hired.

Brain-drain is beneficial for the receiving country, i.e. The United States of America, because it receives and uses some of the best professionals in the world, with very little effort. These are very intelligent persons with a great determination who are willing to work for less pay that the American professionals because this is the chance of their life time, the chance to make a future for themselves. There is a great motivation coming from the knowledge that no matter how good you are, in the country you were born in you could never succeed and live a decent life.

Statistics show that the greater concentration of immigrants is to be found in the big American cities. It seems that in New York almost 30% of the residents are immigrants or foreigners. In fact, 40% of population growth from the United States comes from immigration. This is a tendency that has increased recently. In the old days, immigrants would mostly settle in the country where they could find work: construction and farm work. Nowadays, work is much easier found in large cities and for the illegal immigrants, big cities harbor better employers that are willing to offer them a job.

However, there is a great downside to all this. Poverty and crime come together with the immigrants. This does not mean that they are criminals themselves, but they are elements in well developed intricate networks of people smuggling, human trafficking, modern day slavery and sweat shops. They become the victims of crime. This mostly happens because they have to pay off the debts they incurred with their trip to the United States. They work for years for a petty pay, with others constantly threatening them, holding their passports and menacing their families at home until they are free and clear of debts.

One of the main concerns has been and remains the one about U.S. businesses that are employing illegal immigrants, paying them poorly, forcing them to work in inhumane conditions while threatening them that they will call the authorities upon them. They are the ones generating crime and the ones benefiting as they gain more and more money.

Both sides, the United States government and the representatives of the immigrants, are now striving to prosecute employers of illegal immigrants who are most times taking advantage of their situation and obligating them to work in inhumane conditions and without proper compensations. In 2005, Human Rights Watch pointed out the problems with meat and poultry plants where workers do not benefit even from the most basic working conditions. They are taken advantage of because of their "limited English skills; uncertainty about their rights; alarm about their immigration status if they are undocumented workers." Moreover, situations like these point out yet another problem: the mismatch between the increasing demand for workers and cheap labor and the U.S. immigration regulations. The latter, being very strict, allows these human rights breaches to take place.

The economic perspective

We have established that both the old and the nowadays immigrants are "intelligent, brave, and motivated people." The question is, if these qualities are put to good use, in both the United State's interest and the immigrant's personal interest. The debate is, unfortunately, only viable for legal immigrants, as for the illegal ones all the qualities and skills are used for the mere survival. They constantly struggle to get jobs, to hide from the authorities and so on.

Contrary to popular belief it can be statistically demonstrated that immigrants have had a positive impact over the American economy. And they have. They are a smart, cheap and strong source of labor and this could only be beneficial to the country as a whole.

Immigrants are fighters in general. This greatly distinguishes them from Americans as they have a goal and they put every effort into accomplishing it. If they are studying, they will be studying better and harder than the other students. This has been showed by statistics. Firstly they are more optimistic as Stanislav Kelman shows: "As surveys show, immigrants that are graduating from college "are highly optimistic about their prospects," while Americans are very concerned "about mass layoffs" The positive attitude is a step in the right direction and they accomplish more because they believe in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Economic Impact of Legal and Illegal Immigrants on United States.  (2006, December 8).  Retrieved October 30, 2020, from

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"Economic Impact of Legal and Illegal Immigrants on United States."  8 December 2006.  Web.  30 October 2020. <>.

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"Economic Impact of Legal and Illegal Immigrants on United States."  December 8, 2006.  Accessed October 30, 2020.