Undocumented Workers! Thanks for Your Help Building Our Nation!

Syed Hassan

Changes in world demographics have altered the attitudes of international cultural narratives. Intra-European rivalry, which is dominant in history, is diminishing in its intensity in today’s world. The fight has moved to a second line of defense for its European conservatism. The extreme European right has further descended into racism, Neo-Nazism and anti immigrant fervor. For the French, Germans and Britisher’s once distrusted are now accepted as equals. whereas Turks and North Africans are considered the newest threats to its French cultural identity

High population growth rates and poverty are pushing people from Asian and North African states to Europe. Low population growth rates in Northern European countries, are creating conditions where they must import foreign workers to survive economically. The newly arrived, work, buy goods and services, and pay taxes.   Without them the collapse of Western European economies is not just eminent but a guaranteed prediction. European planners recognize this fact as they slowly adjust their societies to accommodate immigrants.  However, European societies are still far from creating the ideal conditions for cohesion.  Resistance in their social system’s and growing racism intensifies alarm against the perceived benefits of adapting their public policies to meet a new reality. Without foreign workers to inject value into their host countries, European post imperialist economic demise is a seeming foregone conclusion. This can be seen clearly in the frenetic Brexit negotiations, as well as the growing rise of far-right racist political forces. Immigration is critical to Europe society.

The U.S. economy equally cannot afford to lose foreign born workers. This would be akin to economic suicide for the U.S. in a competitive world where China, India and Brazil are projected to supersede the U.S. in GDP and alter its share in the world’s economy within next few years or decades.  That same decline in Europe is projected. This would be mainly due to internal demographics concerning the shortage of labor and inadequate aggregate demand for their products and services which in turn will hinder their economic growth.

The landscape for the U.S. is increasingly challenging. Chinas growth rate, even after slowing down recently, will stay above six percent until at least 2024 according to the Global Economic Forecast by the U.N.  India will also be growing at a rate above 7% in next five years.  America and the west’s economic dominance is slipping from the world order. A U.S. and European economic growth rate of less than two percent does not signal strength on the world stage.

A foolish anti-immigrant agenda, if implemented, will make the rate of American decline from the world stage much faster than even some of these international economic agencies have predicted. A well-regulated immigrant labor force is a great asset to an American economy as this large pool of workers not only strengthens the economy but provides a strong component in boosting aggregate demand.

The real effect of immigrant workers is to further enhance economic conditions in the U.S.  If these workers are brought out of informal economies, they will become recognized as the fully empowered workers and consumers they are. Several studies show that immigration to the U.S. covers two extreme ends of the U.S. labor force’s composition. The immigration pattern is dominated by either very high skilled technology workers or low level semi-skilled workers. Under constant attack by Republicans for racist political gain, the latter group of workers are easy to classify as targets for discrimination and abuse.  The current US labor force mix shows the shortage of both types in the American workforce.

The informal economy where most of the undocumented workers are employed, has great untapped potential as new consumers of goods and services. People in hiding not only work in the informal sector on cash basis, they are not able to contribute income taxes, sales or other indirect taxes.  this informal cash economy costs the country at large by not allowing these workers to fully participate in their own success legally. The undocumented nature of this labor force mandates that they not open bank accounts, buy cars with credit or purchase other made in America products. Additionally their transitionary and uncertain legal status force them not to buy properties or spend in durable goods.

Undocumented workers are filling the void we have in our labor force. We as a nation should be thankful to what this robust, undocumented labor force is adding to our economy. They are freeing our indigenous work force to be able to work in organized manufacturing and services sector where a semi-skilled workforce is needed. We should be thankful to these workers because the value they create is helping us stay competitive with China and other emerging markets. China and India’s strength is in their large labor force’s and a large consumer market.  At a time when we have given the lead in large scale manufacturing to China, high skill technology and information technology to India, we are still a leader in aggregate demand as well as in innovation. Our immigrant workforce can still give us an edge over these emerging economies.

Current stability in the Mexican economy as well as fair free trade agreements with several countries including NAFTA, European Union, Japan, EFTA and intra-Latin American countries are adding jobs into the State of Mexico. Well valued and compensated Mexicans are more likely to reside in their home country and are creating valuable contributions to the Mexican economy. While net migration numbers to the U.S. has been negative in recent years those numbers represent a gain to Mexican economy and loss to the U.S. economy.

Despite of contemporary international competitive economic challenges, the racist US regime of Donald Trump is playing politics with US national economy. Their aggressive and racist attitude against highly needed immigrant workers is and will create hurdles to US economy besides social and political strife in the country.

The racist agenda works against national interest, a clear example of their politics with our economy is seen in how they are dealing with DACA recipients. There suggestion to end the DACA program does not make any economic sense, let alone a moral paradigm. Imagine loss of a million trained, highly educated, skilled workforce through DACA program. This at times when we import high skilled trained workers from other parts of the world to compensate for shortage of high skills in American workforce. According to a Pew Research paper eliminating DACA would cost $283 Billion to US economy over a decade.

Anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric must not find a place in our national agenda. We must not let racism and xenophobia dictate our common-sense solutions to our twenty first century challenges. Not only that we are land of immigrants, but US economy is built by immigrants over times. Most of these immigrants were undocumented over several periods of our history.

We must be thankful to our undocumented immigrants for building our economy and social and societal culture called USA

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