Selflessness, warmth, happiness, new hopes. Values like these are often associated with the holiday season. Folks look forward to bringing others joy and creating a better future with the coming of the new year. However, these concepts are not limited to the holidays in November, December, and January. Each and every day, many families look to move to the United States in pursuit of these feelings. They come searching for opportunities for themselves and their children that they may not have access to in their native country. While the United States has always been a nation of immigrants, the topic of immigration has more recently become a point of contention for many. While the American immigration system may not be perfect, it does more good than harm. Here are five positives of immigration, all demonstrating how immigrants are incredibly beneficial for this nation.
Many Immigrants are Well-Educated
Many native-born citizens might fall into the trap of thinking that the overwhelming majority of immigrants are taking up working-class jobs at a concerning rate. This is not the case. In fact, a higher percentage of immigrants have a college degree than do natural-born Americans. According to the Cato Institute, 43% of immigrants have a college degree or higher, whereas only 29% of American-born adults have achieved that same level of education. Many of these educated immigrants help to improve society by working in STEM fields and entrepreneurial ventures. In fact, about 45% of Fortune 500 companies were created by immigrants or the children of immigrants. These, in turn, create many jobs for other citizens and help to propagate prosperity.
Immigrants Benefit the Economy
Another misconception regarding immigrants is that they take more than they give to the nation’s economy. This is also untrue. The effects of immigration on the economy are overwhelmingly beneficial. Just looking at the GDP for the USA, immigrants added over $2 trillion to it in 2016.
Now, some might suggest that while the formerly mentioned well-educated are adding lots of value to the economy, the working-class immigrants must be bringing the economy down. This is another untruth. Research by the Center of Research and Analysis of Migration, or CReAM, has concluded that an immigrant who does not have a high school degree still, on average, adds $128,000 of value to the United States economy. This means that immigrants of all levels of education tend to be a net positive for the economy. These statistics only scratch the surface. When it comes to stimulating the economy, contributing to taxes, and more, immigrants have a big impact.
Immigration Gives Refugees an Escape
While the United States’s immigration serves the greater good, it also has the benefit of providing safety and security to those who need it. In 2021, over 11,000 people left their countries in fear of persecution and were admitted into the United States. By keeping the immigration system open and welcoming, the USA is giving refugees a chance to build a better life for themselves and their families, separate from the fears and dangers of their native country.
Some might argue that refugees tend to be criminals and may add threats to the nation’s well-being. However, from 2006 to 2015, nine of the top ten cities that received the most refugees relative to their population actually saw a decrease in crime. With this in mind, it seems that immigration can both contribute towards the greater good and also help to ensure refugees a safe haven where they can start anew.
Immigrants Keep the Nation Young
As time marches on, more and more of the baby boomers leave the workforce and head into retirement. This sudden increase in retirees is likely to leave a large gap in the United States workforce. While younger natural-born Americans can pick up the slack, they are not enough to remain competitive in a global economy.
CNN has reported that without the workforce created by immigration, the United States would see 50 elderly people per 100 working-age people by 2060. The result of this large proportion of the elderly could result in a large amount of money in the country being delegated to this aging population, with fewer young people making money to take care of them. However, with immigration, the USA can access youthful, working people who can help to provide for the oncoming spike in retirees.
Immigrants Create a Healthy Democracy
In a democratic republic like that of the United States of America, the nation depends on new ideas and perspectives in order to maintain equality, fairness, and justice for all citizens. If the United States was to deemphasize immigration, it would close off one important avenue on which these new ideas enter.
Dr. Muldoon, a professor of philosophy at the University of Buffalo, spoke of the interaction between democracy and diversity. He said, “Disagreement forces us to question our ideas and to consider if our current way is the best way of thinking about a problem.” In other words, the new ideas brought by immigrants may spur disagreement, but this disagreement is what fuels democracy, compromises, and cooperation with those who have something different to contribute. Without these new ideas, a country can be stuck in its old ways that only serve to benefit those who it has always benefitted. By embracing immigration, a country embraces the new values and viewpoints that immigrants bring, which enhances the effectiveness of a republic.
Immigration has become a big talking point in modern discourse. With so many spreading misconceptions about immigrants, we encourage you to keep these five positives of immigration in mind. Immigration brings in many educated individuals who help make society more prosperous. Immigrants of all backgrounds tend to bring positive contributions to the nation’s income, taxes, and output. The immigration system gives homes to those in need of refuge. The system helps keep a young working-aged population afloat in the nation. Diversity, brought about by immigration, creates a healthier and more active democracy. The system certainly is not perfect, but all these positives of immigration demonstrate the value and effectiveness of the system of immigration in the United States.
If you would like to help support equity amongst the ever-growing diverse population of the United States, please become a donor for Educate. Radiate. Elevate. The tutors at E.R.E. work to help disadvantaged students of color both boost their academic skills and prepare them for their futures outside of school. With your help, we can work to create a country in which all people – no matter their race, national origin, or income level – can achieve success in school and in their careers.