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Immigration Boosts Employment Prospects For U.S.-Born Americans

Friday, November 14, 2014

In the wake of all the debate surrounding immigration reform, the old argument about immigrants taking jobs from Americans born in the United States has re-emerged. In the days prior to this year’s midterm elections, it was suggested in the media that African American employment, in particular, suffers from immigration. If this were the case, it would, indeed, be alarming. Fortunately, data suggest otherwise.

The American Immigration Council analyzed years of census data and concluded, in a report last year, that immigration from Mexico and the rest of Latin America boosts both job opportunities and wage levels for African Americans in the U.S. In a compelling argument for the economic importance of immigrants in the United States, the report’s data analysis shows that for every 1 percent increase in a city’s Latino population, the median and mean wages for African Americans goes up by 3 percent.
In addition, a 1 percent boost in Latino population leads to a measurable increase in the economic status of the same city’s African American residents, as well as a corresponding decrease in poor African Americans. The employment rate for African Americans also increases by 1.4 percent for every 1 percent increase in Latino population.
The report, even after looking at other possible explanations for such economic growth, was able to conclude that the data offers “very significant and robust” evidence that African Americans living in cities with a greater influx of Latino immigrants “experience much higher wages, lower unemployment, and higher job creation.”
While the report only focused on the impact of immigration on African Americans, other evidence highlighting just how important immigrants are to the U.S. economy also exists. Research that examines the impact of immigration on different segments of society is an excellent basis for a genuine dialog about reforming our current immigration system and embracing the economic benefits new Americans being to the U.S.

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