Khoi B
Khoi B
Aug 6, 2018 · 3 min read

The majority of the American population is not fluent in economics. This was meant for common people to understand. I originally wanted to include a lot more hand-made graphics but then I realized I would’ve needed to give entire economics lessons first for most people to even be able to understand them.

There’s nothing wrong with this diagram at the elementary level but often other variables such as preference curves, budget lines, wealth, preferences, a worker’s opportunity costs, education and training need to be considered. I feel as though I’m being misinterpreted as to believing that there is something wrong with supply-and-demand graphs when really I’m saying that accurate statements of labor and economics can not be made solely on that graph. It is a basic lesson like how counting is basic and necessary in math, but additional knowledge is needed to make accurate descriptions of economics.

Undocumented immigrants pay payroll taxes through their employer. Many have fake social security numbers and as a result, payroll is taken regardless of citizenship status.

As to income taxes, the Federal government set up Individual Tax Identification Numbers so that undocumented immigrants can file income taxes. They are incentivized to do this because it provides documentation of their residency as well as shows their ‘good character’ which has been a factor in many immigration reform bills in decisions to offer pathways to citizenship.

The Institute on Taxation and Economy Policy found that 50–75% of undocumented immigrants pay personal taxes through payroll and ITINs. This could be brought closer to 100% if they were given a path to at least legal residency.

No you’re right. It goes without saying that the effects of immigration can be lopsided towards certain regions and industries. But even at the local level, it’s not a 1-for-1 ratio of American-born workers being replaced. Remember the case study of Vietnamese manicurists I included. People aren’t trapped in one role either as a worker or employer. Like I said in my article, many immigrants (undocumented and documented) go on to start their own businesses. Undocumented immigrants, however, face significant barriers of entry and as a result their businesses cannot ever grow a fraction of how much legalized immigrants’ and citizens’ businesses can.

And I really question the true impact of immigration of any kind on job prospect and wages when much larger trends have had a much larger impact on industries and employment than immigrants, such as automation, the retail bubble, and outsourcing. I know you will remind me that I’m once again going into macroeconomics, but macroeconomic trends affect people on the ground. Even microeconomic studies will later on in their conclusion discuss macroeconomic trends to try and explain their findings.

Immigrants (undocumented and documented) have saved small towns in rural America that have been dying for decades. As these agricultural and manufacturing hubs are losing workers to cities and their suburbs, immigrants have stepped in to replace the young people that have left.

Studies have shown that large influxes of immigrants affect employment chances for teens, high school dropouts, and longer-established immigrants, but even then the effects vary by single digit percentage points.

This article is a departure from what I usually write. My last article was on struggles that Asian immigrants typically face and was more qualitative than quantitative. There, I state that my main argument in favor of immigrants is on the grounds of human dignity and human rights. It just so happens I also have a degree in economics and that according to most of the data I came across pointed to positive or negligible effects of immigrants.

But thank you for replying, I value criticism as a way to refine my arguments. I’m relatively new to penning articles and will be making edits to my original article to clarify points that I now feel may have been misinterpreted.

    Khoi B

    Written by

    Khoi B

    Vietnamese-American writer, urbanist, and slam poet.

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