“The facts are that the United States clearly benefits from immigration.”
Immigration is clearly a hotly contended issue. The facts are that the United States clearly benefits from immigration. The US is a magnet for the world’s top talent, and immigration ensures that the US has as dynamic and young economy.
I reached out to several experts and activists for their opinion on why America would benefit from a more relaxed legal immigration policy.
1. A Necessary Step To Fulfill “The American Dream”
There’s a common argument floating around arguing that immigrants are “stealing” jobs from deserving Americans. Alongside statistics and facts that strongly contradict this argument, my work with refugees and corporate immigration law showed me the complete opposite. A relaxed immigration policy opens the doors for highly qualified and skilled people to come in and boost the domestic economy. Most of my corporate immigration cases were shining examples of highly intelligent immigrants who held exceptional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills that most Americans have little interest in pursuing. They were behind the scenes, working long hours to “prove” their value to their company, family, and the country that viewed them as aliens. Despite their struggles, they also had a strong desire to become an American, believing in what I find is a falsified belief in the “American Dream.” Unfortunately, restrictions on immigration sometimes had them and their families packing, taking their valuable skills and contributions with them. I also see the same hard determination in immigrants who may not have specialized knowledge or skills, but are willing to do hard and dirty work just to make it through the day.
The American Dream cannot be declared as something real until there is a relaxed immigration policy in place. The United States is a place where previously, hard workers seeking a better life for their families were openly welcomed. It is why the country has achieved so much today. The current immigration policy blocks people like refugees who desperately need a place to live and also enters a high employable number of immigrants into a lottery that randomly determines if they get to stay in the country. Simply put, none of this makes sense.
-Jiwon Kim, Graduate Student, NYU Wagner School of Public Policy
2. From Blue Collar to FOX Star MD
America has been built on immigrants. All of my grandparents are immigrants. They came to this country with nothing, and because of their courage, trials and sacrifice, I now live the American dream. All of my grandparents were blue collared workers too, as most immigrants usually are. One grandfather was an exterminator, the other a metal worker. One grandmother cleaned houses, the other worked in a factory making clothes. Their hard work was not in vain, they are all so proud to have a granddaughter who became a doctor and appeared on national television.
In my opinion, immigrants have an excellent work ethic. Perhaps this is because they have no other choice. I began working at 14 and at most jobs, it was immigrants who cleaned, washed dishes and had the less desirable jobs with lower wages. Immigrants are willing to say yes to these opportunities. For them it’s acceptable and usually much appreciated because in their countries they don’t have these opportunities. These work positions help small businesses grow, so it’s generally a win win situation for both our economy and theirs.
3. Curbing Legal Immigration Hinders Economic Growth
Legal immigration is a vital tool for American businesses and plays a key role in helping our country remain competitive. According to a recent PWC study, 77 percent of CEOs say their growth is threatened by a lack of availability of key skills, and another study from Adecco predicts that we will be short 2.4 million STEM workers by next year. The need for highly skilled talent is real and shows no sign of waning. Restricting legal immigration not only threatens to stunt the growth of budding companies, but forces them to explore other options — such as relocating work overseas. If the intent is to grow our economy, why are making it harder for companies to secure the talent they need? We need to make it easier for companies to tap into the global talent pool and access the talent they need or else risk sending that talent and innovation to other countries like Canada, Mexico or China, which have all recognized the opportunity to recruit tech innovators and workers who might no longer be welcome in the United States.
-Dick Burke, president and CEO of Envoy Global, a global immigration technology services provider.
4. Look Around at Your Favorite Businesses
Colgate. Nordstrom. Ebay. Google. Kohls. Comcast. Natural entrepreneurs, immigrants often establish companies, create jobs, and drive innovation like those above. Their often amazing cultural and linguistic skills proves a great advantage in a crisis or even in regular situations, allowing our country to build common understanding with others.
Foreign formal education systems often do not place their citizens in considerable debt. As a result, immigrants can take advantage and offer new academic and business approaches. Their natural ability of entrepreneurship, their endurance to remain in school, the love of learning and discipline, sets the bar for structure and learning bringing in new points of view — especially in business.
Not only does legal immigration advance the wide range of businesses driving our economies, it allows great tax exemptions for state and federal funding. These advantages build and drive our country.
Our many different walks of life make us who we are. It’s what makes us stronger; it’s what makes us America.
-Darlisa Debose, Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur
5. American Innovation Depends on the World’s Most Enterprising Talent
American innovation, jobs and competitiveness depends on the entrepreneurial energies of the world’s most enterprising talent. This means we need to continue to attract and retain immigrant talent. According to American Enterprise Institute, for every 100 foreign-born workers in STEM fields with advanced degrees from US universities, we create an additional 262 jobs for American workers; for every 100 foreign-born workers with degrees in any field, we create an additional 46 jobs for American workers.
Not only has immigrant talent been shown to spur job growth in the US, we also saw greater early-stage entrepreneurial activity in high-tech in the 1990’s when the US embraced a higher number of foreign-born skilled workers on the H1-B visa program. According to a UC Berkeley/Duke study, in Silicon Valley, from 1995–2005, roughly half of all startup’s founded had at least one co-founder who was born outside the United States.
Our economic vitality as a nation, and dynamism as an economy, is directly tied to a welcoming immigration policy. Every American economic renewal in history has preceded an immigration wave. So must the future if America were to continue its global leadership.
-Dilawar Syed, President of Freshworks, the cloud-based software company
6. Change the Status Quo; Gives Us People to Admire
As an actor in Los Angeles who’s featured on big time networks, some of my favorite inspirational people are those who create opportunities through hardship. Just like legal immigrants have found a way to do once here in America.
The way many immigrants work have allowed for natural business opportunities to help others find jobs, creating ongoing revenue for our country.
The hustle is on point and it’s often done with a smile — very similar to what I learned growing up and what I now do in my line of work.
-Javon Carey, Comedic Actor
7. Stronger Economy
America would benefit from a more liberal legal immigration policy because our economy would become stronger by utilizing qualified individuals in positions that may not attract an American. Immigrants migrate to America to increase their quality of life typically because of economic hardships, to increase their educational status, or religious/political persecution.
If we have a liberal immigration policy in place that assist these groups of individuals to become an asset to American society through educational and trade programs, we open the door to grow our economic efforts and create platforms for businesses to benefit.
The policy does not mean all immigrants would be able to settle in America just because they are immigrants. They should be vetted and not excluded based solely on their country of origin or religion.
-Katrina Highsmith, Brand Strategist at The Highsmith Group
8. Robust History of Immigration
America has a great and robust history of immigration but it may have a detrimental side. Our immigration system has skyrocketed to over 300% and with illegal immigration that’s grown to 700%.
Immigrants take lower wage jobs; so, when an immigrant will do a job cheaper; this pushes wages down for construction and assembly workers. Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc. hire 40% -60% of their workforce from immigrants. That’s thousands of jobs that Americans went to college and earned a degree to land.
These tech giants pay these workers 40% less than their American counterparts; so, they push wages down while these billionaires rake in the savings on the backs of Americans. Wages go up when employers need workers, when there is a surplus of workers, wages go down. We need a strong immigration policy but first balance immigration with Americans finding (brick and mortar or online) work.
-Dr. Justin Wood, PhloxADR
9. Our Duty as an American Citizen
Immigrants come to the United States from nations all over the world that are seeped with history, culture, religion and brokenness. Immigrants flee for various reasons to the U.S. in hopes of a better life, an idealized image of a family, a stable job, and a home with doors that close and a roof that shelters them.
But America is less than three hundred years old. And if we’re already putting what can only be defined as irrational legal immigration policies to prevent immigrants from joining this country, how can we expect to advance in the hundreds and thousands of years that lie ahead of us?
It’s been proven time and time again that the economy will only grow with immigrants; If we can put a liberal immigration policy for those who are fleeing for various reasons and can offer them valuable learning programs, we are only working for our own benefit to grow and strengthen our economy as immigrants continue to prove to be a valuable asset to this country.
But more than that, and at the base of it, this nation was built on immigrants. There was no ‘American’ 244 years ago. And it’s our duty to be citizens who fight for those looking for a change. That’s our duty as an American citizen.
-Claire Ahn, Children’s Author
Note to our readers: If you appreciated this article, please click on one of the buttons on the top left to post to your twitter, facebook or pinterest. If 2000 people like you do this, there is a good chance this article may be featured on the homepage. : -)
If you would like to see our entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.