Thank you for writing such a thoughtful and insightful response. And I seem to understand where you are coming from. I would not like anybody to suffer because of anybody else but when it comes to economics, it gets complicated with lot of people being party to a problem. Recession was for sure unfortunate and I completely get your angst when jobs were taken away and govt. could not do much. But I would like to say that much of the fault lies in the system itself, a system which comprises of companies whose only motive is profit and the govt. which has been late in bringing the required reforms.
That said, I think we all understand that labour market is never a zero sum game. The no. of jobs being taken away is not equal to the no. of jobs being created. If one immigrant takes away one job, then immigrants of the likes of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Sunder Pichai, Satya Nadela etc. create hundreds of thousand of jobs as well. Another main reason for some jobs that do not exist today, esp in services and manufacturing sector, is the technology advancement and automation.
Times like recession and great depression are not caused by immigrants, in fact the ripple effect of such economic hard times are felt all across the world. International students who come here to study also have a huge loan to pay off , work after college and cannot get choosy with what they are offered. Employers are very shrewd, they want maximum skills at a minimum price and that makes the job market competitive for all of us.
This does not mean that visa system is not being abused of. This is where the government should step in. A new immigration bill has been introduced which if passed, will make sure that only highly skilled labour is called upon from abroad. This will certainly be a win-win situation for everybody as the companies will not suffer from talent shortage and an effort will be made to source jobs locally.
There will still be immigrants around, mostly for STEM jobs, if America doesn’t give the required impetus to STEM focussed education in schools and makes college education affordable for its citizens. United states is home to the world’s finest educational institutions , but if its own population is not able to pursue higher studies on account of how expensive it is, then something is wrong.
Truth is many things are wrong within the system, its a complicated problem with many facets, so putting all the hate on immigrants alone is unfair to me. If America pulls up its education system, brings immigration reforms and is able to make companies focus on training and hiring locals first, I see no way more immigrants than truly required will be able to stay here.
Also I would like to point out that it’s not all rosy with immigrants as well. H1-B visa holders are temporary workers, yet they pay social security tax and medicare which is 5% of their monthly income. Various studies have established that Immigrants pay much more in taxes than the welfare they accrue. Even undocumented immigrants pay all their taxes and contribute to the economy and most of them take up low skilled jobs.
Since you have an immigrant in your family, you must be knowing that being an immigrant is not that easy as it looks. It is not easy for an immigrant as well to get a job and then feed a family of 4 on single income. Had it been that easy, the people here who lost their job would have migrated as well. A nation is always in a “building” stage, though with time the required skill sets and kind of labour changes. As for those $500,ooo, the proposition to me sounds similar to the mexico wall, we are yet to see who will pay for it.
Majority immigrants don’t form a vote bank, everybody publicizes the visa frauds and abuse of system, I just wish if immigrant community could also get some recognition of the good work they do. Every year half of the patents in U.S are filed by foreign nationals, the innovation and jobs that immigrants bring do not get credited enough. Nonetheless I get that a middle class person who lost his job will feel angry and cheated, there are issues which need to be tackled and only govt. can do so. Whatever benefits or ills immigrants cause, America first need to care for its own nationals and make sure they are happy, healthy and taken care of. But to say that immigration is the sole culprit is wrong.
I am glad you wrote your part of story, because it needs attention and dialogue, sure some things need to be corrected. America seems to be at crossroads between its altruism and self preservation, which will eventually happen in an economy and nation of such scale. I hope some solution will work out soon.