While growing up in Mexico, I heard many stories of people who were going to work in the United States, some illegally, so they could provide a better life for their families. To them, they were going to the land of opportunity, where jobs were plentiful for people who were willing to work hard. They planned to go to the United States and do the work that Americans didn’t want, while getting paid more than they could make in Mexico. Many of them sought work in construction, where their lower pay would mean cheaper homes and buildings for Americans. Although there was the risk of getting arrested and deported, it seemed like a risk worth taking to many people. Now that I live in the United States, I have seen the other side of the story. I have seen the economic difficulties that Americans face in their own country. It is even harder for someone like me, who came here legally, but faces challenges that many Americans don’t. I have met people here who are working illegally, and see their daily struggle to survive. I have also met Americans who were born here and have difficulty finding work. Instead of plenty of jobs for everyone, good jobs are scarce with many people fighting to get them. I see the resentment some people have toward those who are here illegally, and working for lower wages, making it harder for others to complete. These observations have made me wonder; do illegal workers help or hurt the economy?
Dr. George Borjas, Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, found that the earnings of US born workers were reduced by an average of 3.7% by immigrant workers, both legal and illegal. The greatest effect was to US born workers without a high school degree as well as young workers. In his research, published in the paper Increasing the Supply of Labor Through Immigration, Dr. Borjas writes “The 10 million native-born workers without a high school
Cited: (1) Borjas, G. J. (2004, May). In Increasing the Supply of Labor Through Immigration: Measuring the Impact on Native-born Workers. Retrieved Mar. 29, 2013, from http:// www.cis.org/articles/2004/back504.html (2) Hanson, G. H. (2007, Apr. 26 ). In The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration. Retrieved Mar. 29, 2013, from http://www.cfr.org/content/publications (3) McCarthy, Kevin F., Vernez, George (5) Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L. “Undocumented workers in the labor market: An analysis of the earnings of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States” Journal of Population Economics (1999) 91-116