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Immigrants Don't Take US Jobs—But They Do Help the Economy: Study


Immigrants Don't Take US Jobs—But They Do Help the Economy: Study

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Migrants in the U.S. do not "take" American jobs or lower working wages, and in fact have had a long-term positive impact on the country's economy, according to a comprehensive study released Thursday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.


I am not a Harvard economist or a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. However, it does not take a graduate degree to easily see how management is using immigrant labor to depress wages and fatten their bottom line profits as well as enriching stock holders in their enterprise.
Go into a fast food restaurant, big box retailer, take a ride in a cab, or go to a self-service gas station-minute market and see how few native speakers of american English they employ.
Immigrants work for cheaper wages because they are desperate to provide something for their families.
Immigrants don't make waves lest (if, as is true for so many of them) they are not in compliance with the laws of immigration) they get turned into federal authorities and replaced by many others just like them.
When immigrants do so much work that native born US citizens will not do at the suppressed wages they receive and the dangerous working conditions they are willing to endure, everybody loses.
Think about that the next time you order fast food, or pick up meat or produce at your supermarket or buy a new home, or....


In the late '90s, when I and many others entered the IT field, wages were going up. Then Bill Clinton upped the H1B1 visa program significantly. The last position I had was in an IT Department that was over 90% Indian immigrants. Many people I started out with have gotten out of the business because they have to shift jobs almost yearly. One I hadn't seen for quite a while told me he's voting for Trump - YIKES! Wages have stagnated and fallen. This doesn't mean I blame immigrants - they are doing nothing wrong. In fact, I've seen quite a number of Indians working at Burger King recently. This is alluded to, but not explained in the article - the author simply states "Recent immigrants were also more likely to reduce the job opportunities for prior immigrants". In other words, they'll get screwed over, too. I do blame corporatist management (nearly all lilly-white men), though, and crap articles like this one. And the number of African-Americans I've worked with in IT - 5 (yes - FIVE). So how did this "new economy" help minorities already HERE? It didn't.

Just read:
"The panel's comprehensive examination revealed many important benefits of immigration—including on economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship—with little to no negative effects on the overall wages or employment of native-born workers in the long term" ...
... but just below that ...
"Until recently, the impact of high-skilled immigrants on native wages and employment received less attention than that of their low-skilled counterparts; but, as the number of high-skilled immigrant workers has grown, so too has interest in studying their role in the economy"

So, in other words, you don't know! Pushing "immigrant good" memes like this as a PC way to counter knuckle-dragging Neanderthals like Trump just plays into their hands (but as good money-grubbing Neo-Liberals, you must push it, huh?). It's dishonest and people know it. Construction work used to be a good-paying middle-class job, but not so much anymore. When I was young and living in a small town, there were recently arrived Chinese (Taiwan) doctors, Lebanese store owners, Hispanic restaurant owners, etc. all filling a NEED in the community. Were there bigots in that town - sure. Did most people welcome these immigrants to the community - yep. Immigration today is nothing more than seeking the cheapest possible labor in the "global market" - in other words, what used to be called "scab labor". It isn't old-school "immigration" - it has become worker displacement. But it's easy for the elite, white "management class" to tell everyone else adversely affected that they are racist or anti-immigrant, while raking in higher and higher profits. Maybe all those working-class whites weren't voting "against their interests" like the management class told us. And maybe, that's why an absolute fascist moron like Trump is still in this election. Neo-Liberal propaganda is being listened to by fewer and fewer people.


BS. From your academic bubble this looks good on paper. But in the real world this is nothing more than the neoliberal agenda to make the lowest paid US workers shoulder the burden of corporate lust for cheap labor. It's easy to tout the benefits of cheap illegal labor (that's really what we're talking about here) when it's other people's jobs and livelihoods that you're giving away. If you're so passionate about immigrants rights, give up your own job! YOU make the sacrifices for your selective compassion, for your minority du jour. You don't need a PhD to recognize that these policies are removing a large percentage of people from the workforce. Who filled these millions of jobs 10+ years ago when they were good paying jobs? People like me.

This has become a fight about who has the right to work in this country. As a citizen, if I can't work in my own country where do I go to work?


We live in a shrunken world and millions of people are on the move; one of our biggest challenges is how we learn to live in proximity to difference – different skin colours, different beliefs and different way of life. According to a study by COMPAS, Muslims born and educated were given the impression of outsiders. The perception among Muslims is that they are unwelcome in Britain is undermining efforts to help them integrate into wider society. Most of them say that they have experienced race discrimination and religious prejudice. Muslims and Islam is promoted a fundamentalist and separatist by the western elite, which have negative impact on community and social cohesion. The number of racist incidents occurring in London Borough of Redbridge’s schools have reached their highest levels since record begin.

Western colonial powers made a mess in Africa, the sub-continent and in the Middle East couple decades ago. The least they can do is to accept people from the countries they have robbed and ruined. The western countries which colonised the world .Yes it is a duty to give them back some pieces of what they have stolen !

Most of Brits do not want immigration on this scale. That is shown by every poll. But at the same time they want someone to serve them in a bar and clean their hospitals and make cheap clothes. They want someone to drive them across town. Birth rate is declining and old population is on the rise. Migration is on the rise. Mass immigration has caused problems, but it is the fault of the politicians. In education, migrant communities should have their own state funded schools with their own teachers so that native teachers could concentrate on their own children. It is never too late to set up schools for different communities. Muslim community suffer more than others in the field of education.

Fabio Capello, England Italian manager, needs only 100 English words to manage the English team effectively and could even earn more than £4 million for his work and paying a large amount of tax. Who says that he is not fully integrated. Similarly, an immigrant with few English words could find a job in British economy and contribute for the betterment for the British society by paying all sorts of taxes. There is no need to be well versed in English. Without migration, British society and economy would have bled to death. Immigrants improved the inner cities of Britain. According to DC, mass immigration has led to "discomfort and disjointedness" in neighbourhoods because some immigrants have been unwilling to integrate or learn English. Migrants have created wealth and jobs because Brits rely on welfare system. According to a study, migrants contributed about £6 billion to British economy. That is equivalent to a 1.5% cut in basic rate of tax. Immigrants are twice as likely to start a business as native Brits. More then one in three of the doctors gained their medical degree from abroad. Without them NHS would grind to halt. One in ten students in British universities come from non-EU and they pay much higher tuition fees than native Brits. Without them British Universities would go bust. This means that there will be no end to immigration in the near future, because of the ageing population and low birth rates. Britain had " benefited immeasurably" from immigration.

The shocking level of targeting of the Muslim community of Birmingham is indicative of the normalisation of the dehumanisation of the Muslims of Britain. Under the pretext of "extremism", criminal undemocratic and unethical abuse of public institutions and the Muslims of the UK can occur without much accountability. This pervasive attitude, especially amongst officials like Michael Gove needs to change. Our schools are truly trying to develop our children to do well at schools so later in life they are able to stand on their own two feet, but if we stop our schools from doing this than our country will have up rise of unemployment, benefit issues, crime levels high, I think its time for you apologize and allow practitioners to do their job right.

It is easy to say" Go back to where you came from", but do not forget that British Muslims are actually born and educated here. They are in the unenviable position of trying to combine two different worlds. That is no easy. We do not want to change you lot but we would like to see our children getting balanced Islamic education along with National Curriculum. We would like our children to learn and be well versed in standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time we would like our children to learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit. Bilingualism is an asset but British schooling regards it as a problem.


OK. The US shut down/shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s, increasing the number of people who are absolutely desperate for any job, any wage.The last I heard, there are 7 jobs for every 10 jobless people who still have the means to pursue one (home address, phone, etc.), and we have no mercy on those who are left out. Are you positive that increasing the number of people struggling for jobs will improve conditions?


As it is, we don't have jobs for all. We already have an abundance of cheap labor -- minimum wage or less. Millions are stuck in bottom-wage, time-limited jobs. There are no options, obviously. I'm pretty sure that, due to lack of interest by media since the 1990s, middle classers have no concept of the conditions of the masses of America's low income and poor today. (They seem to think everyone is a middle class worker.)

Because of this, there's certainly no need to take the risks of hiring illegal labor. The question is, should we bring in more people to compete for jobs, when we have a shortage of jobs?


Yup, we should have stopped all those Okies moving out west and stopped all those african americans moving from the south to the north. Every state should have put up border fences and issued internal passports to halt the mobility of labour.

But seriously, one thing has to cease is the relocation of decent paying jobs to the "right to work" states to take advantage of the reserve army of unemployed willing to work for low wages and few benefits.


yes they do unless they are sitting on welfare. we don't have enough jobs for the American people.


I've been hearing this U.S. Govt/corporate/academic propaganda for a few of decades now...that immigrants don't take jobs away from native U.S. citizens. But, that's just what it is...propaganda.

From the late 90's through the early 2000's, I was working in Concord, MA, for a California-based hi-tech multinational, where our company occupied two out of three large office buildings that were managed by a property management company. For the first year of so, the management company contracted with an evening janitorial crew consisting entirely of native, English-speaking citizens. That crew was then replaced with a different contractor whose crew consisted of predominantly Spanish-speaking immigrants from Mexico; but, native English-speaking forepersons. About 18 months later, that contractor was replaced by a contractor whose employees were all very recent Spanish-speaking immigrants from Mexico, including the forepersons. Many of the employees were pregnant women whose only understanding of English was "yes" and "no". All of these people were very nice, friendly, and polite, and good workers; but, it was obvious to me that the management company had reduced its costs by changing to contractors who employed less expensive labor. You could easily gauge this by the clothes they wore and their means of transportation.

I saw the same change with regard to the landscaping crews contracted by the management of the townhouse complex where I lived. All good workers; all good people; but, progressively more recent immigrant employees.

I realize it's not PC to begrudge these immigrants these jobs; but, it's a blatant lie that they are not displacing native U.S. citizens. And, back at that time, there were reportedly approximately 30 million undocumented immigrants who had come into the country. Compound that with corporate job offshoring; and, it's no wonder that the true measure of unemployment in the U.S. is 23 percent ( as determined by John Williams of shadowstats.com ).


This is a hard argument to tackle in this medium because of all the complex unpacking that needs to be done to take down the constant braying about "studies!" when it comes to immigration and economic impacts. So I can't do it here, sadly.
But what I can say is that, by definition, as long as there is unemployment, then someone is getting displaced by migrant labor--if not by "losing" a job, then by not getting hired for one in the first place.
And this is the "trick" to these kinds of studies. Most focus on job loss as the primary measure for displacement of workers, which is only one metric that can be used.
What's not acknowledged is the displacement effect of immigration into areas of already shaky labor viability. What this effect means is that when a factory opens up, and hires cheaper migrant labor, those jobs were not counted as jobs lost by native workers because they were never held by them in the first place.
But to the workers not working in that factory, that's definitely a lost job, since it's an earning opportunity that was essentially outsourced to imported labor.

Studies claims are complex, and even well-intentioned journos are rarely versed in the "tricks of the trade" of doing economic research and how limited the actual data pile is on labor displacement effects.
This is one of those cases where the combined anecdotal force of workers is probably worth more than the limited sum of "data" available to academics.


My spouse works in (middle management) highly technical field that resides in the FIRE sector. He often deals with the IT department of his very large firm. The person he speaks with the most is in a particular area directly related to my spouse's field - very specialized This person is an H1B visa holder and has spent his entire adult life here working at this job. He has two preteen kids and his wife recently died from an aggressive cancer. He is a great guy and very good at his job. One evening during a two day meeting he and my spouse went out for dinner. Over a few beers he got chatty and told my husband exactly what his salary was..... My spouse happened to know what another non H1B visa holder American citizen who has basically the same job but in a different department makes ( my spouse is one of those people whom everyone confides in..). The H1B Visa guy made WELL less than HALF of what the other guy makes and they are equally good workers.
This is not to diss the visa guy - he has become a good friend of oursand was recruited in India to take this job. I have helped with his kids since his wife's tragic death.
But the company is in the process of 'reorganizing' the IT department and is basically laying off all the higher salaried citizen workers and hiring more H1B visa folks and violating the law in saying there are not enough qualifying citizens to take the jobs. And apparently from friends and family this is happening across the board in workplaces with the government issuing this visas knowing full well they are being lied to about the dearth of 'qualified' citizen workers.
Our friend has expressed how guilty he feels that he is taking a job away from people born here and agrees that this program is driving down wages dramatically in highly skilled middle class sustaining professions.
Instead people are worried about Mexicans taking landscaping and garbage men jobs...... If the pay gets much lower for those jobs or if the xenophobic Trumpeters get more violent no one will be taking those jobs - citizens or not. But where are middle class educated/skilled workers going to go ? A laid off amurikan IT person is not exactly going to be able to get a job in India or Vietnam are they??

Holy cr** - sorry for the ranting novel...


I don't believe this for one minute. Where my son works They will hire Spanish and Muslims now over an American citizen due to the fact that the government gives them tax breaks. No incentive to hire US citizens. there was an article about Disney world where the employees had to train their replacements . Their are more Muslims working for john Hopkins than any other group. You have the Asians taking over high tech jobs. you have the Spanish population taking over the service jobs. So this article is another attempt to mislead the American citizens.


Yes. I saw the same H1B visa hiring of hi-tech personnel from India; but, not at the same scale that I saw in more menial professions. The largest loss of jobs I did see, however, was the offshoring of entire software development departments to China. But, these higher paid job losses are kept out of the news; so, one is much less likely to become aware of these losses.


Not with the same numbers BUT with a much more noticeable effect on the economy. The fact that middle class spending is in the potty is proof of that... The fact that in my area I see a lot of middle class families who you would think should be buying up and spending more on houses, cars, trips etc and doing the opposite. Trading in the Volvo for a used Civic, downsizing their home, shopping more at IKEA than Pottery Barn etc.


raise your hand if you believe this BS. Oh I get it those jobs are in a parallel universe! US citizens will do any work that pays if, big IF, it paid a decent wage. In European countries work that is not highly desirable and labor intensive is well-paid allowing for a standard of living equal to that of the middle class (or better) in the US. "Refuse engineers" live on the same streets as bankers. (Here they are divided by universes.) Less desirable work is often half-day allowing workers to spend the other half of the work day volunteering, pursuing hobbies or coaching at their children's schools etc. Then too health care, college, child and elder care are provided by the government so workers income goes towards house payments and vacas, usually 8 or more weeks a year-paid. (In the US we, 'mericuns prefer to pay for all this ourselves -- course the bottom 75% goes w/out just about everything mentioned above because their incomes are so low.)

This would also have us believe that Cesar Chavez (UFW) was wrong. Chavez was against illegal immigration due to the fact that it undercut those working here legally and harmed their chances at organizing.


I saw this in the tech sector in the 90s in my last stint in the corporate world. What people don''t realize is that H1B claims are simply asserted by the applying firm. It's not like the claim of not being able to find a qualified domestic workers is double checked by anyone. So there's usually a quota for claims. But there's also loopholes that allow the quota to expand.
Our HR people were basically lying ratbastards. They crap-canned a ton of qualified resumes in order to claim the need to import labor. At about 1/2 to 2/3 of prevailing wage.
Liberals unthinking devotion to identity politics has made a critique of the capitalist practice of displacing labor nearly impossible from the "progressive' side of things. As a result, native workers have essentially no advocates anywhere in the US government.


Let us understand one thing first, regardless of any select non peer reviewed study or any other paid for and purchased collaborative authorship to emphasize a particular conclusion. We all live in a voting franchise, understand the concept and understand the value of federated citizenship and its global aspirations. States operate as grouped franchised and incorporated municipalities, to affirm this simply read your states voters preamble to federal incorporation and understand it, that is if you can find it. The rest of the states constitution is irrelevant since we are under administration and executive policies. Check out ICLIE municipal models that in the US has at least 700 municipalities that conform and many thousands of others mainly in Europe and other Westphalian law based on pure commity. That form of trade requires collaborative municipal corporations to regard all its human stock as herds with various and notional characteristics based on either denominational or demographics profiles. If you believe you are not a member of the herd please refer to your human resource value and W2 worker class status, not citizenship. As an unpaid tax collector and revenue maker please do compare value for value worth in terms of your QOL Quality of life, and the backstage theatrics necessary to get you all to work for less. The American worker may proudly claim as of 1997 to be the most efficient worker based on value and economic worth, taking the title from our very obedient and US funded Japanese. This stemming from older post WWII global policies based on the doctrine of 'Potency;, which incidentally condemned the Chinese in favor of the Japanese. Wise choice in hindsight ? Regardless USA interns must understand that the current policies of secularizing is among a myriad of very simple socialist divide and conquer politics. It is ultimately up to you and the very same predictable Lockean trained mindset to overcome the pointy finger game and take your place as a member of the governors and not expect any mercy from those that govern us, they use revenue creating statutes under the flimsiest of excuses and gullibility. If you have a good consumer cause you may even have a new statute that generates revenue named after you. In the land of the free and the brave we must accept our real and not romanticized history. Old money has never left its roots and neither has the trade in humans, it has simply taken on modern post industrial softer forms of exploitation and with a rewritten if not work in progress to rewrite history. If I recall my history correctly it was not but 300 years ago that our mercantile based elite ran breeding programs trying to find and unsuccessfully create the optimal and cheapest slave worker. Today under various welfare based and astronomically funded programs the goal may yet be achieved, and right under our and your own noses with your consent. As one of our founders reputedly stated, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”. I state this with the caveat in the land of laws and orders,or alternatively the truer land of everything is a franchise and revenue making as that is what our legislative municipal bodies are composed of and their thousands of statutes and executive policy orders that are generated every week, that nothing and I mean nothing goes on in this continent that is not in the big picture and used against those who only see and are indoctrinated to think in small pictures. Oh how far we have fallen and oh how we are so likely to see a repeat of histories lessons.

As for those who like to point at that foreign or pigmentally challenged peer worker employed which is an easy and popular thing to do, at a price that their respective company or corporation likes, I suggest anti ostrich behavior and taking your heads out of your ass or the sand take your pick. I am often tempted to to drop a metaphorical suppository into these individual types if not for one thing, that it may give them cause to lift up their heads and take in at least a little fresh air, especially those who feel entitled. Those guys or munchkins are employed by a legal US business owner, perhaps yours and the decision to do so was done by your human resources department or senior bean counter who does not care where cheaper labor comes from and will find or fund or give cause to change statutes to qualify cheaper labor. One of the best tools for business and a successful one at that particularly in the US is to make policies or politically correct statutes and let the natives fight each other, is it working, I think it is. We have so many social divides that it is impossible to see the tree trunks for all the leaves. Oh and by the way do remember that you voted for 'work at will'. It is the law. Understand this one way concept and also that each individual worker is individually contracted at their agreed price, regardless of race, gender or legal status. Forget the mainstream media and political arguments, whether coerced or not most of us will sign an agreement to paid x for y, under a take it or leave it scenario, and most of us are getting to be more need its. Under administrative and statutory law your dissent is considered a consent. Since your vote really does not count.

I believe when Kruschev banged the heel of his shoe and made a prediction of winning in the end as similarly derived Gorbachov declared communism should have been done the American way. We should admire the soviet elite for understanding that they need not do anything but wait for their long predictable stupidity bomb to have its effect. As predicted money and its control has always been more dangerous than standing armies and that danger may appear to many armchair problem solvers as coming from brown bearded and super smart sheep and goat herders who live in caves in shores afar, but has quietly been working from under many false flag doctrines from within which is also a prediction made by our founders. Or as Huey Long declared we may know that it is communism, but we will be politically correct and call it something else just because we are in America and we can reinvent the wheel or as is the truth. Simply patent the idea and then legally exploit it usually with big bats or at the end of a gun. Should not be too long now before we all feel the pain of being too poor to support such a form of government. Or as a WI law professor John Sharpless stated, we shall all, or that is those who are in the W2 class of worker will be in the cycle of Work, Walmart if they can afford it, home or encampment or debtors/even cheaper labor prisons, and the need for states to encumber its herds into such a position by the way our government works and the debts it creates to keep itself in business. After all we are one of the few nations on the planet that has a government that declares itself on paper as not for profit, and costs nothing to maintain under the monetary M3 standard yet is the largest beneficiary of its own largess and those of its millions of acolytes, for now that is.


I agree.


Correct. Under Reagan we stopped enforcing the laws prohibiting the hiring of illegals and stopped going after and prosecuting employers. We have an illegal employer problem not an illegal worker problem in this country. Add to that the worker visa vh1 program that Congress has enhanced to favor corporations. We have hundreds of thousands of workers "imported" by corporations and paid less than minimum wage. On top of that, as if that's not enough, we have a prison system full of really cheap labor and these for profit prison systems open up for bids labor which they then pay workers around 25 cents per hour then turn around and charge them for meals, etc. It's a real rip off not only to them but to the American workers who are being lied to.