American Workers’ Wages and Job Opportunities helped out by Immigration

American WorkersMillions of American’s will be celebrating Labor Day on this coming Monday. Labor day is designated to recognize the contributions that American workers have made not only to our economy, but also our society.  Immigrants and their families have been playing a vital role in the U.S for decades with the labor force and economy at large. However, today, our broken immigration stifles the contributions of immigrants and in turn withholds significant benefits from American workers.

There is a long way to improve our immigration system. Comprehensive immigration reform – such as S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization act, which passed in the Senate in June with a bipartisan supermajority of 68 to 32. This reform would provide legal status and citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrations in the United States, and it would create a flexible system to admit future immigrants into our country.

Wages impacted by Immigrants

Immigration will positively affect U.S. workers’ wages and employment, shown by research. Economic theory suggests that wages will decline in the short run as the supply of the labor is increased. But with immigration, this is not the case for the following reasons.

  1. Generally, immigrants do not have a negative impact directly towards the earnings of native-born workers. Generally immigrant workers and native-born workers complement each other – and do not compete for the same job. They both have different skill sets, and therefore seek different types of jobs.  Therefore, immigrants do not increasing the competition in the labor market, and do not negatively affect American workers’ earnings.
  2. Research has found positive impacts on native-born workers from the indirect effects that immigrants have on the labor market as well as the economy.

As new immigrants come into the country, the number of jobs that are offshored in the manufacturing sector decreases, shown by research. To ensure that more manufacturing jobs stay in the United Sates, not only do the native-born manufacturing workers benefit, but also the demand of services that the manufacturing industry relies upon.

Wages impacted by legalized Immigrants’

Research provided from the Center for American Progress has shown that undocumented immigrants’ earnings will increase by 15% over five years when they receive legal status, and by an additional 10% over the five years when they acquire citizenship. With legal status, and citizenship, immigrants are able to fully participate and receive full protection under the laws, and find jobs that better match their skills.

Jobs created by Immigrants

It is important how immigration affects employment opportunities for the native born. Research has shown that increased immigration does not displace U.S. workers, for many of the same reasons as to there not being a negative wage effect. Many immigrants that come to the U.S. create their own jobs by starting their own business. According to the 2011 Current Population Survey, 7.5% of the foreign-born population is self-employed. Therefore, we can expect that under S.744 between 600,000-840,000 of the new legalized immigrants would indeed be self-employed. Immigrants are very unlikely to take jobs away from the native born, and in return, they create new jobs for American workers.


There are many misconceptions about the negative impact that immigrants have towards the native-born workers, but research has proven that not only do they create new jobs for American workers, but that immigrants also positively affect U.S. workers’ wages and employment.


About Fadi Minawi

Fadi primarily practices in US Immigration Law. He assists with matters relating to business immigration (including: relocation, expansion, investments, and work visas), litigation, admissibility issues, customs forfeitures and other cross-border issues. Fadi is also a criminal defense attorney and can assist with criminal matters in the US. Read more

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