In any field of activity, there are myths that crop up. Some of these myths are based on misconceptions; others carry a grain of truth that is often distorted.
Immigration is a subject that certainly has its share of myths. One of those, repeated for years by opponents of immigration reform, is that making employment immigration easier to achieve would cost many Americans their jobs.
In Minnesota and across the nation, this concern continues to affect the debate about immigration law and policy. But is it really true?
Granted, many of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. have jobs. Indeed, many of them also pay taxes on their income. As we discussed in our April 19 post, immigrant workers are able to get tax identification numbers and pay taxes.
But do immigrants really take jobs from Americans? Or do many immigrants take difficult low-paying jobs that U.S. citizens cannot or will not take?
Two points should be made in answer to this question.
First of all, it simply isn’t true that all immigrants gravitate toward low-wage jobs. Many immigrants are high-skilled and enter the U.S. with H-1B visas or other work authorization. There are plenty of immigrant engineers and high-tech workers.
To be sure, there are also lots of immigrants who work as janitors, on farms or factories, or in low-skill retail jobs. But our second point is that the immigration reform bill Congress is considering is so comprehensive that it would likely affect different types of workers in different ways.
That is why the proposed bill has caused a split in the ranks of organized labor. Some unions support it, particularly those that represent farm workers. Others are opposed.
Source: MPR News, “Public Employee Unions Take Issue With Immigration Overhaul,” Brian Naylor, NPR, May 29, 2013