February 19, 2016


How Undocumented Immigrants Contribute to the American Economy : Would you notice a day without Latinos? Most definitely. (FRANCIE DIEP, 2/19/16, Pacific Standard)

Everybody would certainly notice if undocumented immigrants suddenly disappeared from the workforce. They make up about one in 20 American workers. In Wisconsin, an estimated 55,000 workers are undocumented. The industries that would miss unauthorized workers the most include farming, fishing, and forestry, where more than one in four employees is undocumented. Notably, in Wisconsin, the Dairy Business Association opposes the anti-immigrant bills.

If undocumented workers disappeared tomorrow, would that actually mean more jobs for native-born Americans? It's important to remember that an economy doesn't contain a set number of jobs that are shared among the population. Having a different mix of people may create or vanish jobs. Studies don't agree about what the presence of undocumented immigrants does to the American job market, however. By keeping the cost of labor low, undocumented workers improve companies' bottom lines and create more jobs, one recent computer model found. On the other hand, a panel of economists recently agreed that "illegal immigration to the United States in recent decades has tended to depress both wages and employment rates for low-skilled American citizens," although the panelists couldn't agree on whether the effect was "modest" or "significant."

How do undocumented immigrants affect the country's bottom line? Do they pay more in taxes to the American economy, or do they take more in benefits like health care and public schooling? As a group, immigrants pay in more than they take out, studies agree. At the same time, many studies have found that undocumented immigrants cost more than they pay in certain states and localities. That said, they generally don't cost much: "In most of the estimates ... spending for unauthorized immigrants accounted for less than 5 percent of total state and local spending for those services," the Congressional Budget Office reports.

Either way, it's not a growing issue. Illegal immigration to the U.S. is tapering off, according to data from the Pew Research Center. Wisconsin is one of 43 states where the undocumented immigrant population hasn't changed in recent years.

There is no contradiction in the fact that farming is considered the quintessential way of life and that immigrants are the ones doing the farmwork.
Posted by at February 19, 2016 10:54 AM