During the years immigrants have proven a great talent in exact sciences and professions, i.e. information technology and engineering. They are hard working and more serious and manage to get ahead of the students born in the United States. Moreover, these are also the most important fields of business where brain-drain is mostly applied. Whole American IT companies function almost entirely on employees that have not been born in the United States.
Most statistics compare immigrants with persons born in the United States to determine what both groups have to offer in terms of labor and economic growth. One of the things that are taken into consideration herein is the medium level of education that the two groups posses. It seems that the persons born in the United States have an average of 12.5 years of study, while the immigrants only 10.7 years. However this is not a fair evaluation as there are different systems of education in different countries and subjects can be more or less condensed. For example, there still are some countries in Eastern Europe where the educations system does not contain the college. Students study in high school what Americans study in college and then may or mat not go on to university for a specialization. An even higher specialization comes from a master's course or a PhD. Therefore, it would be desirable, when comparing in terms of education to have in mind the system of each country or, better still, the knowledge of each particular individual.
Another factor disrupting the statistics is that immigrants are often younger than the persons born in the United States they are compared with and could not have had so many years of education. Moreover, in some third world countries the possibility of a good education is still something that only the elites have, or the governance system of those countries does not allow so many chances for an education. These persons should not be taking aside, as they may be very intelligent highly skilled individuals.
Furthermore, if one takes into consideration the immigrants that are studying in the United States the statistics change completely. Although their percentage compared to the one of the students born in the country is small, the percentage of achievements is very high. They get better results, better grades; go on to high education like PhDs and so on. There are some domains, as set forth, like engineering and information technology, where the percentage of immigrant students and professionals is highly increasing. In the recent years it has had top values of over 50% of the students.
Another thing to be noticed is that the percentage of immigrants is higher, the higher the investigated level of education is. Because they are so determined, immigrants tend to become more specialized than students born in the United States.
Another thing taken into consideration when comparing immigrants with persons born in the United States in terms of labor and economic growth is the wages the two categories work.
It is true that immigrants gain lower wager than Americans, especially recent immigrants. There is a 32% medium difference between the wages of recent immigrants and those of other employees. This is a natural process considering that even if they do know English they speak it with a strong accent and they have no experience on a particular job and experience in the United States in general. The lowest wages are, of course, those of illegal immigrants as they do not have where to choose from, taking what they can and working in petty conditions.
The situations changes with time. Those that are entrepreneurs, although having arrived in the United States of America without any money, gain the capital to start their own business. These small businesses bring value to the American economy as they offer employment for other immigrants; they offer taxes for the government and service a particular area or community. An example of this is that "in Miami alone "there are 25,000 small Cuban firms" and they all support the economy.
The immigrants that have been studying get jobs after graduation....
If they are very good, they advance fast on the job hierarchy and work in the field they have prepared for earning accordingly. "Others work for big companies; for example, "about 40% of the 200 researchers in the Communications Sciences Research wing at AT&T Bell Laboratories were born outside the U.S." Many immigrants work for companies like Du Pont, or American Megatrends, or at large universities." The trend with immigrants working in universities is expanding. They come to the country with scholarships and either work to support themselves or they are part of study-teaching programs, like some fellowships of PhDs.
However, a great problem that immigrants have to face, even the most qualified ones, is that of discrimination in employment. They are faced with a great intolerance from people who believe the most popular statistics and follow the most popular trends. This is a real setback even for the most skilled and knowledgeable immigrant. At a first glance, Americans seem to be very liberal and welcome foreigners with open arms. However, at a closer look the situation is not so clear. "On paper, constitutionally and internationally, Americans respect the rights of non-citizens. But inspiring words on a statue in New York Harbor notwithstanding, unadulterated welcome has never been our actual stance." American intolerance has been fueled lately by national security fears. All Islamic immigrants are regarded as terrorists. All other immigrants are regarded as possible terrorists. "Immediately after 9-11, the U.S. government questioned thousands of non-citizens of Arab and south Asian descent who were selected for no reason other than their ethnic or religious backgrounds. A full 752 were arrested for routine immigration violations. While none was ever charged with terrorism, the government gave them the slanderous moniker of being of "special interest" to the terrorism investigation."
Moreover, the average American includes in the category of illegal immigrants all aliens, that is: the refugees, asylum seekers, workers, students and even tourists. These are in fact legally in the United States and benefit from all the rights and civil liberties.
The greatest argument that statistics have in showing the negative effects of immigrants is that they supposedly drive down wages in general, for other categories of workers as well. This happens because they are a cheap labor force and they are willing to do more for less pay, thus a person born in the United States who wants to work has to adapt to this, as discrimination or no discrimination, any sound business man would hire somebody if it brought him some leverages in comparison to another, may he be American born.
However, this decrease in wages, only applies to non-skilled work. As we move to higher levels of professionalism, education and knowledge we do not see this trend. "Nevertheless, research by two professors from Princeton University shows that "in no case" was there found "a large or statistically significant effect of immigration on the rate of increase of wages for the least-skilled workers." The main reason for this is that the labor market is in a continuing demand for professionals, as it has not been saturated yet. Therefore, here immigrants and Americans are not competitors, but rather companions. Unfortunately, due to discrimination, the immigrants' wages, even at this level, are lower than the others'.
Another problem to be dealt with considering the economic impacts of migration is the one of welfare. Twenty years ago, only 8.8% of the immigrant families benefited from the American social security system in comparison to 8% of the American households. The difference is very small considering what immigrants had to go through. Moreover statistics from the time showed that the 11 million immigrants working were bringing in $90 billion in taxes compared to the $5 billion used for welfare in their case.
A great problem regarding welfare is that people who need it are sometimes not able to benefit from it. Immigrants may not benefit from welfare in case they do not have a source of income and consequently may, in some U.S. states not benefit from government assisted health benefits, either. Illegal immigrants are of course excluded from the American social security system.
What are the costs of immigration?
The "costs" of immigration, i.e. The negative impact it has on the American economy can be divided into direct expenditures (incurred by the state in order to support the immigrants, like welfare) and indirect expenditures (incurred by the native Americans due to the changes the immigrants cause, like unemployment).
Since the 1980s the level of welfare paid for immigrants has greatly increased in comparison with the taxes they pay, due to the great increase in illegal migration, unemployment and of the overall number of immigrants. This results in Americans paying higher taxes in order to support the welfare of the immigrants. Statistics show that in reality, due to the fact that only a small percentage of…
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