In practicing immigration law, I’ve found that in our society there are several misconceptions related to immigration and the immigrant population. A report from the Brookings Institution released last month on Prince William County’s recent anti-illegal immigration measures once again demonstrates that immigration, both by documented and undocumented immigrants, is an issue of great concern nationally, and particularly in Prince William County. The choice by the Brookings Institution, a national nonprofit public policy organization, to focus on our County out of the 3,141 counties nationwide, speaks to the importance of our local dialogue about the issues surrounding immigration. In a series of upcoming columns, I’ll address some of the myths that have gotten quite a bit of traction recently.
MYTH #1: IMMIGRANTS TAKE JOBS AWAY FROM AMERICANS
FACT: ECONOMIC STUDIES SHOW THAT IMMIGRANTS ACTUALLY INCREASE ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY AND THE WAGES OF AMERICAN WORKERS
The most common immigration myth I hear is that immigrants are taking all of “our” jobs. In reality, studies support the proposition that immigrants, whether here legally or illegally, not only don’t take jobs from native-born citizens, they actually create jobs and increase the economic output and salaries of American workers. One of the major findings in a 2007 report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) to the Executive Office of the President was that, on average, U.S. natives benefit from immigration because immigrants tend to complement U.S. natives and do not substitute for them in the workplace.
The myth that all of “our” jobs are being taken away by immigrant workers is simply not based in fact and should be abandoned. Immigrants play a vital role in our local and national economy, in good times and in bad. Whatever your position with respect to immigration policies or enforcement, it’s important to recognize the valuable marketplace contributions being made by immigrants.
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