The debate surrounding illegal immigration and illegal immigrants stems partly from their respective role in the American workforce. Many people assume that illegal immigrants and illegal immigration cause work shortages and lower wages for American citizens.
Although, recent studies partly agree with this assertion, the general American public are not deemed to be the the primary benefactors of illegal migrant labor. The extra labor – regardless of legality – contributes to rising food and housing costs would quickly cut into the slight pay increase that would come from an elimination of the illegal immigration workforce.
Demographics show that illegal immigrants tend to cluster around specific occupational arenas; the majority of the current illegal immigration workforce flock to agricultural, construction, and service-oriented locales, resulting in a lowered the expected salary for this type of labor, falling well below the minimum wage. Even though a mere fraction of savings are passed onto consumers from illegal immigrants joining the workforce in large numbers, the majority of Americans actually benefit from this reduction.
The first reason that this decrease of illegal immigration would be negligible is the percentage of total expenditure that labor actually costs a business owner. Most of the costs associated with the types of businesses illegal immigrants work for are infrastructure and equipment related. Cutting illegal immigration from the workforce would give more citizens employment, but the higher expense of labor would pass directly to the consumers.
Generally, illegal immigrants occupy unskilled labor that does not appeal to the majority of American citizens. Removing illegal immigration would force businesses to raise the salary for unskilled labor, again passing the cost onto the consumer.
Obviously the notion of an illegal immigrants' economy affects people differently. Essentially the more money a citizen makes and then spends on service-oriented labor generally assumed by illegal immigrants, the more they benefit from illegal immigration. The majority of American citizens currently have a high school diploma and earn more than average illegal immigrants, and as a result, the argument can be made that the majority of Americans actually benefit from illegal immigration.
In terms of dollars and cents, the average American citizen actually gains more than they lose from illegal immigration. This is not to assume or take position on the legal or humane issues related to illegal immigrant labor, but to offer an alternative to the preconceived notions that adversely depict illegal immigration and immigrant labor.
When looking at the illegal immigrants' workforce from top to bottom, the sheer number of workers would presumably take jobs directly from American citizens, however, their usual form of labor remains unattractive to the vast majority of citizens. In summation, the economic effect of illegal immigration remains relatively small, and for most Americans, actually proves to be advantageous.