As the rally for the U.S. presidency continues, Trump continues his anti-immigrant rhetoric, arguing that illegal immigrants, referring mostly to Mexican immigrants, take away jobs from struggling America’s poor. Naturally, such sentiments built upon fear and a perception of scarce resources may work well with less informed or frustrated and worrying individuals, as we have witnessed with Brexit for example.
And some Trump supporters give media plenty of reasons to doubt their factual intelligence and, at times, logical reasoning. Yet, let alone all the media bestselling stories and my personal opinion on Trump’s campaign, I can follow what is a simple reasoning of, ‘there are not enough jobs in the country, BUT foreigners come for these jobs as well, HENCE there is higher competition, AND they may take our jobs’. However, no important matter is that simple, and actual research-based facts reject such reasoning.
Immigration Attorney Jason Finkelman argues that the notion of immigrants’ fault over a shortage of jobs is superficial. As per a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, contrary to stealing jobs from the native-born population, data shows that immigrant workers actually complement the American labor force with a different set of skills. In other words, immigrants take up the jobs that need to be done, yet are not in the interest of the native population. As brought up in Mr. Finkelman’s article, the superficial anti-immigrant logic is supported by the belief in a fixed number of jobs, which implies that ‘if some job is taken by an immigrant, it cannot be taken by a native-born worker’.
Most economists however consider such belief a fallacy, holding that the amount of work is not static, and supporting the notion that immigration helps the economy to grow, thus creating more jobs. Echoing this notion, Mr. Finkelman highlights that according to the aforementioned research ‘immigrant workers are critical to supplementing the U.S. labor force, filling jobs that would otherwise remain vacant or disappear’. Also, the report on immigration by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce debunks several myths and provides factual information, including the fact that ‘immigrants create jobs as entrepreneurs, consumers, and taxpayers’ and that ‘immigrants give a slight boost to the average wages of Americans’.
In a similar vein to scapegoating immigration for labor problems, Mr. Trump infamously blames illegal immigrants for violence. Although Trump believes that Mexico is not sending ‘their best…’ (although he assumes ‘some are good people’), fact-checking these assumptions proves them once again inaccurate and superficial.
All in all, while Trump’s rhetoric might be loud, absolute and enraging, actual research and facts provide a more sobering view on these matters. Yes, migration-related violence and labor issues exist on a global scale, yet a narrow and superficial approach is unlikely to help here. Globally we need solutions that are far better than building ‘beautiful’ walls!