Many people who oppose increasing immigration to the United States say it is for economic reasons: immigrants take the jobs that should go to U.S. citizens instead. But is really the case?
Look at it this way: the law of supply and demand says that, the more there is of a product, the lower the price. So, as The New York Times Magazine put is, when there is a glut of oranges on the market, the price of oranges drops, and many oranges may go uneaten.
But the zero-sum metaphor does not hold up when it comes to jobs, the author of the article says. People who migrate to the U.S. looking for work increase the supply of labor, but also increase demand for workers. After all, when they are not working, they are spending money on housing, food, and other necessities. This creates the need for workers to provide those goods and services.
An example from here in Miami shows how this works. In 1980, more than 125,000 Cuban arrived in the U.S. through the Mariel boatlift. Around 45,000 of them were working-age people who moved to Miami, increasing the city’s workforce by 7 percent in just four months. A study of the labor situation at that time indicated that this influx had no measurable effect on wages or employment rate. Most economists now agree that immigration brings long-term economic benefit, without any short-term cost to workers.
Immigration will continue to be controversial in the U.S., for economic and cultural reasons. However, the law creates opportunities for people from other countries to come to the U.S., either temporarily, indefinitely or permanently, to work and live.