(CNN Spanish) — In the United States, a country whose history was largely forged by immigrants, the discourse against foreigners coming in search of better opportunities does not subside. However, the words of those who portray immigrants as a threat do not last: a recent study, published by the George W. Bush Institute, clearly shows that these communities are a major threat to the nation’s economy as a whole and to the core. benefit the pockets of the residents. especially.
The immigration crisis at the southern border and the policies of the Joe Biden administration do not leave the front pages in the United States. In fiscal year 2022, records are set for encounters with migrants at the border uniting the country with Mexico. And that’s when Title 42 was still in force — the public health policy that allowed officials to reject migrants at the border since the start of the pandemic — which according to the court’s ruling is nearing its end. Meanwhile, the government has a program underway to allow limited entry for Venezuelans who are leaving their country en masse.
Debate on the advantages and disadvantages of immigration – which often ignores the economic, violence and security problems that force millions of people to leave their homes – is the order of the day. And the nonpartisan organization’s study answers are clear: On many economic and quality-of-life indicators, “cities with relatively large immigrant populations tend to perform better than those with smaller percentages of immigrant populations,” says the research, which It shows positive effects in areas ranging from income to cultural development and dispels widespread myths about immigrants, for example that they take away jobs from locals or lower wages.
more immigrants, more income
In large metropolitan areas and counties with high numbers of immigrants, nearly everyone has higher incomes than those with fewer immigrants, according to the report.
This correlation does not necessarily indicate a cause-effect relationship, as it may be that places with higher incomes attract more immigrants, and not vice versa. However, the study authors believe that it is the presence of immigrants that affects earnings for a number of reasons, including the relatively large increase in immigrant populations and linguistic diversity in metropolitan areas, with the latter seeing wage increases. Is. Studies by the University of California and Bocconi University in Milan, cited by the George W. Bush Institute.
How does this affect the salaries of those born in the United States?
Reference studies have shown that the presence of more immigrants in cities translates into better wages for most groups of workers.
Metros with high rates of low-skilled immigrants saw modest declines in wages for US-born high school dropouts (according to just under 5% of the workforce), but increased wages for those born in the United States across groups Is. of workers with higher education levels, the report says.
What’s more, cities that have “suddenly large influxes of immigrant workers generally do not see declines in low-skilled native-born wages,” the study says, citing as an example the Miami area during the pandemic. The 1980 boatlift cited the arrival of more than 100,000 Cubans which “had no lasting effect on the incomes of the natives”.
The opposite is also true: Cities that have seen a disproportionate decline in immigrants, for example because of immigration restrictions, do not show an improvement in wages for people with certain qualifications born in the United States.
There is a simple explanation of these data: low-skilled immigrants who have recently arrived in the United States generally work differently than most natives, the influx of immigrants attracts business investment that is not available to natives. benefits the U.S. as well, and immigrants support local businesses. Even as consumers, report details.
A recent report by the National Foundation for American Policy, published by CNN, reinforces the view that immigration does not take jobs away from Americans. Their research “examined the labor markets where most temporary foreign workers were employed prior to the pandemic and found that the decline in H-2B admissions did not boost labor market opportunities for American workers, but rather, if few If at all, made them worse.”
The Pew Research Center, for its part, projected in 2017 that with the mass retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, the United States will need a steady stream of immigrants to sustain its growing workforce for the next two decades. will be needed.
What is the income of immigrants?
Immigrants earn less than those born in the United States. According to a study by the George W. Bush Institute, for example, in 2019, the median income in the 100 largest metros was 11% lower for foreigners than for natives, and was estimated at US$65,000.
However, the truth is that the average is not representative because incomes “vary enormously” between metropolitan areas. For example, in 2020, they went from an average of $136,000 per home in the San Jose, California area to $31,000 in McAllen-Edinburgh, Texas.
Innovation Factors and Entrepreneurship
Cities with higher percentages of immigrants are more innovative than others, and the contribution of people who were not born in the United States is greater.
Immigrants, for example, invent new products and obtain patents at higher rates than natives. 27% of master’s and doctoral students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (known in English as STEM) fields are foreigners with temporary visas. What’s more: Immigrants represent 14% of the metro’s population, but hold 23% of positions in STEM fields. other data? Companies founded by immigrants make up more than 40% of all startups in the country’s top tech hubs.
To innovation we must add the spirit of entrepreneurship. According to the American Immigration Council, citing the study, immigrants represent between 22% and 25% of all private business owners in metros, while they do not reach 15% of the population.
In fact, they are 30% more likely to start a business than those born in the United States, according to an economist at the University of California, Santa Cruz cited in the report, and their companies are more likely than others. are more likely to become exporters, according to economists at Harvard University.
A 2020 report by the National Bureau of Economic Research has already provided data along these lines: Researchers reviewed more than a million new businesses formed between 2005 and 2010 and found that immigrants created twice as many as Native Americans Started business, which created employment.
The contribution of immigrants is reflected in certain sectors such as biotechnology and basic services. In this category, 36% of all accommodation and food service businesses are immigrant-owned, as are 31% of all personal care service businesses.
Immigrants fill millions of needed jobs that are unlikely to be there in sectors such as health care, manufacturing, technology and construction.
(In fact, this September, when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was sending a plane full of Venezuelan immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Florida business owners reported their difficulties finding employees. 11.2 in the United States that month.) million job opportunities. Employment according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Its importance in the health sector came to the fore in the epidemic. Nearly one in three jobs in this category are filled by immigrants.
In construction, for example, workers have helped “stabilize” industries in the Midwest, to make up for skilled labor shortages that would have forced factories to close.
On the other hand, in construction, immigrants make up over 70% in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to name just one example. Declining immigration rates since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to labor shortages and resulted in increased construction and housing costs.
Florida, once again, is a perfect example: After the passage of Hurricane Ian, the non-profit organization Resilience Force confirmed that immigrants from different parts of the country would arrive on the scene to help rebuild the devastated areas.
And the benefits go far beyond economic: Immigrants make the cities where they find themselves more attractive from a cultural perspective, the study says, affecting areas such as the food supply, the arts and sports.
The increase in immigrants has prevented many cities and metropolitan areas from significant declines in population in recent decades, and has allowed local businesses and urban centers to be maintained and revitalized.
“Twenty-eight of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States would have lost their population between 2010 and 2021,” the study said. He has also contributed significantly in the development of university towns.
Where do immigrants fare better?
To determine which metropolitan cities are doing better for immigrants, the study created an index that takes into account 12 variables. These include, for example, income, educational level, financial well-being, and percentage of homeowners, among others.
Of the 25 regions where immigrants are doing best, the top five tech centers in the United States (San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington and Boston) and the five second-tier tech or financial centers (Raleigh, Madison, Bridgeport-Stamford ) Huh. -Norwalk, Colorado Springs and Atlanta).
With reporting by CNN’s Vanessa Yurevich, Biran Fung, Priscilla Alvarez, Phil Mattingly and Sofia Benavides.