Immigration: What Makes America Great

With all of the rhetoric coming out in this election cycle, there has been a lot of discussion about immigration to the US. Although Donald Trump has emphasized illegal immigration in his rhetoric, the fact is that he energizes many people who are against immigration in general. Anti-immigration sentiment has always been strong in the U.S., illegal or not. According to Gallup, 41% of Americans want to decrease the amount of immigration to the U.S., compared to only 22% who want to increase it. According to Pew Research Center, 71% of Republicans believe that immigrants make the economy worse. Most Republicans actually believe immigrants make American society worse off in the long run. Note that these surveys are not about illegal immigration, but just immigration in general. These beliefs are often founded on misconceptions and mild xenophobia.

A common misconception is that immigration takes away jobs or decreases wages for Americans. However, evidence shows that immigrants are 30% more likely to start a business than non-immigrants. In 2011, 28% of new businesses in the U.S.were started by immigrants, even though they only account for 12.9% of the population.

In fact, the economic benefits of immigration are numerous, including contribution to innovation and investments. It’s not just small business creation that creates jobs. Simply having a job and purchasing things contribute to the economy as well, along with self-employment. The job market is not a zero sum game. As many jobs that immigrants “take”, more are created by the small businesses and increase in demand that go along with immigration.




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