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Immigrants steal Americans’ jobs – or do they?

As one of the top states for immigration, with the Migration Policy Institute reporting 3.8 million immigrants in the state in 2013, Florida has its share of people who may resent foreigners moving in. One of the most common arguments against unchecked immigration is how it supposedly affects the economy and American jobs. Newcomers to the country, especially illegal immigrants, take jobs away from natural-born citizens who need and deserve these jobs – or so the argument goes.

However, states the New York Times, studies have shown evidence in favor of immigrants working in the United States: Research conducted by an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, suggested that an influx of immigrants boosts the labor force and economy. After over 125,000 Cubans arrived in Miami in 1980, the city’s labor supply increased by 7 percent within four months. Other studies have shown that immigrants complement society’s workforce instead of competing with it. Workers with less education tend to gain employment in supportive positions such as painting and janitorial work, while more skilled workers fill construction and administrative positions.

When immigrants work and spend money in the United States, they create other areas of demand, such as housing, food and product purchases, which in turn open up additional jobs. The entire arrangement can be seen as a complex infrastructure in which employees of various levels of education and experience work together to complement each other’s skills and strengths. Immigrants may still encounter challenges from those who are not as willing to accept their importance in the country’s employment force.

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