The Gaucho Gazette

Immigrants Improve Industries

Within Petaluma, there is a prominent number of undocumented immigrants in the local labor force. They work various jobs, often more than one, and there is a debate regarding the extent to which their presence disadvantage American workers.

Kayla Alcorcha and Alejandro Paredes

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The United States has long been a place of refuge for immigrants seeking improved living conditions where the violence, dictatorship, and poverty that often plagues third world countries is absent. Foreign families uproot themselves to build a new life in America. The industries of agriculture, food services, construction, and landscape—though typically low-paying and sometimes seen as undesirable occupations in the eyes of native-born workers—are plentiful with immigrant employees; they are a growing share of the U.S. labor force. Many are proud Americans, grateful for the opportunities the country grants them access to. But the presence of immigrants is a source of political contention, especially in regards to both their place in the workforce and their role in the economy.

In the debate of whether undocumented immigrants put a disadvantage upon U.S. workers within the labor force has been utilized by the right side as an underlying argument against illegal immigration. On the left side of the political spectrum, the abundance of foreign workers seeking a joyful prospect in the U.S. has brought myriad benefits upon the economy. This includes their contribution to taxes and their contribution to filling the demand for labor in the same respect. In 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided statistics in which they said their agency received 4.4 million tax returns from undocumented immigrants (or those without social security numbers) and in total paid $23.6 billion. Immigrants evidently pay more in income taxes than the top one percent income bracket. Granted this information, undocumented immigrants are unable to partake of even the most basic benefits that they pay for––insinuating that they simply cannot qualify due to their immigration status. Although the left side upholds a chain of powerful arguments to protect undocumented immigrants, their work in politics has not necessarily brought a solution to satisfy both sides. Senior Mia Shew discusses her views and her understanding of this controversial issue at hand.

“I believe undocumented immigrants are only a benefit to our country in terms of labor. No American would rather farm than work at a high paying job that they received a college degree for. our economy was built on slave labor and in a way, this is slave labor. yes they came here willingly, but they again receive no benefits for their hard work,” said Shew.

The right side of the political spectrum is sometimes interpreted as being racist because of its stance against undocumented immigrants. However, their stance differs––from completely desiring the deportation of all undocumented immigrants, to do the opposite and give amnesty to them and legalize them to help the economy. The legalization of undocumented immigrants has a powerful effect to boost the economy. Workers’ incomes would rise by 15.1 percent after their legalization. This growth could potentially increase the amount of tax money to the IRS––which can be of essential use for the federal and state governments. This reverses the damaging effects of deportation on the economy as well as the suppression of wages and harsh conditions. At this moment, Republicans and Conservatives have a realistic approach to answer the question of whether American workers are being disadvantaged by undocumented immigrants––simply give them documents––and in doing so, more jobs are added by the increase of GDP which demands of labor to keep at pace with a growing economy. Senior Jack Green commented on immigrants’ contribution to the economy.

“[Immigrants] do a lot of jobs that most people don’t want to do, and they’re great workers. I just think they should be put on payroll, and we should get rid of the cash deal system. I have no problem with them being here; Just get them legal and paying taxes, contributing to our society like the average American,” said Green.

From a leftist perspective, unauthorized immigrants fill a demand for labor and are not necessarily stealing the jobs of Americans. Those with views that slant towards the right may believe that the immigrants’ presence is admissible, but their illegal status needs to be corrected. This is often difficult, however. The system is flawed; thousands of people cross through U.S. borders each year, and though their unlawful residence is a subject of controversy, the attainment of citizenship is a long process. In the meantime, their prominence in the American workforce brings economic benefits––supported by statistics––in terms of money given to the government. Immigrants are pillars of the nation, taking jobs in essential industries that aid the country’s profit. Not necessarily stealing occupations, but claiming a responsibility to provide for their families and support the nation they sacrificed to enter.

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Immigrants Improve Industries