Positive and Negative Effects of Illegal Immigration in the Workplace Essay
Positive and Negative Effects of Illegal Immigration in the Workplace
The advancement in the transportation and communication industry has led to the large-scale movement of people. The labor moves from their native cities and countries where they do not get employment to other cities or countries searching for jobs and better living conditions. The migration of workers is not new to the history of the human race. However, the modern labor laws and immigration policies have given rise to legal and illegal immigration. The paper highlights the positive and negative effects of illegal immigration on the workforce, specifically the US economy.
The issue of illegal immigration is a bone of contention for economists, policymakers in the US administration. It is a perception that illegal immigrants steal away job opportunities from the locals. The perception and opinion are not altogether unfounded. However, there are several aspects and dimensions to the complex issue of immigration.
Immigration, which government authorities permit, is legal. However, when cheap labor crosses borders and enters another country without valid documents, it is illegal. It is essential to understand that illegal immigration is not harmful in its totality. (James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, Editors; Panel on the Demographic and Economic Impacts of Immigration, National Research Council). Instead, many economists and policymakers have pointed out various positive benefits that illegal immigrants bring to the economy.
Illegal immigrants expand the economy. An argument against the notion is that illegal immigrants save and send a significant portion of their income outside the US economy. It appears absurd, but it is true. The influx of more than five lacs (Gallup, Inc.) illegal immigrants into the USA every year expands the US economy. A study estimates that illegal immigrants pay around 11.6 billion in indirect taxes. It is because they earn, live, and spend in the US. The spending by the illegal immigrants helps the growth of small restaurants, bakeries, and other small-sized businesses. It means cash outflow.
Another point is that the government has to spend more on creating and maintaining social infrastructures like Medicare and education. The legal taxpayers oppose it. They feel agitated when the government spends their hard-earned money on providing social services to the alien immigrants.
The most important aspect is that illegal immigrants are ready to work at lower wages and in mediocre working conditions. It implies they steal jobs from Native Americans. The immigration of labor from Mexico, India, China, and other Asian and Latin American countries introduces enormous amounts of cheap labor in the labor market. The increase in labor supply has an inverse effect on wages, thus plummeting the wages downwards. (Boswell and Straubhaar). Regarding rising inflation rates, the actual earnings of the labor force have gone down in the last three decades.
The effect of increased labor supply is substantial in the low and medium-income (Chassamboulli and Palivos 31) labor market. The African Americans holding less than a school diploma are the worst hit. They lose menial and low-paid jobs in grocery stores, wholesale trade, and the labor-intensive farming sector, construction, mining, and different industries like meatpacking and others. The large-scale unemployment among blacks has a direct relation with unprecedented illegal immigration.
An aspect that needs analysis is that since American entrepreneurs get a cheap labor supply, they benefit from illegal immigrants. For example, a hotel employing waiters, cooks, and other staff who belong to the undocumented labor force can provide eatables at cheaper rates. It benefits the consumers. The situation implies that those American entrepreneurs who do not break labor laws and do not employ illegal immigrants are at a competitive disadvantage. If they do not harness the abundant labor supply, they may go out of business.
There is a deeper moral issue above the terminology of legal and illegal immigrants. Both legal and illegal immigrants are humans. They have natural rights and must get an opportunity to earn and lead a decent life. The illegal immigrants who work in risky jobs, (Orrenius and Zavodny) earn pathetic wages and accept poor working conditions. Mostly they get employment in labor-intensive jobs, which Americans detest. The issue requires governments to rethink and draft pragmatic immigration laws to provide better wages and working conditions. How can a society that boasts of human rights sanctify the exploitation of illegal immigrants?
The other benefit is that the illegal immigrants provide fruitful incumbency. The prevalence of the older population raises the demand for outside labor (Griffith) to sustain societal institutions. The result is dependent on illegal immigrants. They do not steal jobs but sustain the infrastructure to serve the senior citizen population.
The present times have witnessed violent clashes among the locals and illegal immigrants. In the face of a shortage of employment opportunities, workplaces have seen repeated instances of terror, arson, physical attack, and physical assault on illegal immigrants. It is a cause of concern. There is a need to find amicable solutions wherein the illegal immigrants add value to the work environment and not cause restlessness and turmoil.
The gist of the discussion is that no country can completely protect its borders from the influx of illegal immigrants. On the one hand, there are claims that illegal immigrants steal jobs, downgrade wages and cause hardships to the local population. On the other hand, entrepreneurs earn more profit. High-skilled immigrants function as creators of newer opportunities, ideas, and inventions. Several of the Fortune 500 companies are the product of the hard work and prudence of immigrant entrepreneurs. It is not feasible to hold a singular and stagnant opinion. Instead, the issue of illegal immigrants warrants an in-depth analysis to thoroughly study the complexities and find practicable solutions that will benefit society.
Boswell, Christina, and Thomas Straubhaar. "The Illegal Employment of Foreign Workers: An Overview.” Intereconomics, vol. 39, no. 1, Jan. 2004, pp. 4–7, 10.1007/bf03032198.
Chassamboulli, Andri, and Theodore Palivos. "The Impact of Immigration on the Employment and Wages of Native Workers.” Journal of Macroeconomics, vol. 38, 2013, pp. 19–34. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jmacro.2013.07.005.
Gallup, Inc. "The Real Impact of Illegal Immigration.” Gallup.Com, 23 Aug. 2021,
Griffith, Bryan. "The Impact of Immigration on the American Workforce.” CIS.org, 16 Nov. 2005,
James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, Editors; Panel on the Demographic and Economic Impacts of Immigration, National Research Council. "Read ‘The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration’ at NAP.Edu.” Nap.Edu, 1997,
Orrenius, Pia M., and Madeline Zavodny. "Do Immigrants Work in Riskier Jobs?” Demography, vol. 46, no. 3, 1 Aug. 2009, pp. 535–551,