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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Immigrants Aren’t Stealing American Jobs

National Journal: 
By Tanvi Misra
October 21, 2015

Eco­nom­ists tend to agree that im­mig­ra­tion is good for the eco­nomy: Im­mig­rants cre­ate jobs and make U.S-born work­ers more pros­per­ous. Op­pon­ents of this idea of­ten cite the work of Har­vard labor eco­nom­ist George Bor­jas to ar­gue that, at the very least, low-skilled im­mig­rants steal jobs that low-skilled Amer­ic­ans would nor­mally do. Here’s The At­lantic’s Dav­id Frum flesh­ing out this cri­tique:

“If you as­sume that all low-edu­ca­tion work­ers are po­ten­tial sub­sti­tutes for each oth­er—the 23-year-old re­cent ar­rival from Guatem­ala with the 53-year-old who pro­ceeded from high school to the Army—then your mod­el will show a less dra­mat­ic ef­fect of im­mig­ra­tion on wages. If, however, you as­sume that the 23-year-old Guatem­alan is com­pet­ing with 20- and 30-something nat­ive-born work­ers who lack dip­lo­mas, then your mod­el will show a very big ef­fect.”

The core of this ar­gu­ment re­lies on the as­sump­tion that sim­il­arly edu­cated nat­ive-born and im­mig­rant work­ers of the same age don’t take on com­ple­ment­ary roles in the job mar­ket as eco­nom­ists sug­gest—but rather eye the same jobs. But a new ana­lys­is of Census data from the Urb­an In­sti­tute finds evid­ence to the con­trary.

Urb­an’s Maria E. En­chauteg­ui stud­ied a co­hort of 16 mil­lion Amer­ic­an work­ers without high school dip­lo­mas. She found that with­in this group, im­mig­rants and nat­ive-born work­ers do very dif­fer­ent jobs. In fact, she writes that nat­ive and im­mig­rant work­ers at this level of edu­ca­tion are much more dis­sim­il­ar when it comes to their role in the job mar­ket than are work­ers at oth­er levels of edu­ca­tion­al at­tain­ment. Here’s how she sum­mar­izes these res­ults and their im­plic­a­tion in a blog post:

These find­ings sug­gest that im­mig­rants and nat­ive work­ers with low levels of edu­ca­tion may be com­pet­ing for dif­fer­ent jobs and even could be com­ple­ment­ing each oth­er. Im­mig­ra­tion status can con­strain a work­er’s job choices, but many im­mig­rants are work­ing dif­fer­ent jobs from nat­ives be­cause they have lim­ited Eng­lish lan­guage or tech­nic­al skills, or be­cause they have in­suf­fi­cient ex­pos­ure to the US work­place. If un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants be­come au­thor­ized to work in the United States, that still may not be enough to in­crease com­pet­i­tion with nat­ives for low-skilled jobs.

En­chauteg­ui of­fers two charts show­ing the dif­fer­ent types of oc­cu­pa­tions im­mig­rants without high school de­grees tend to do (top), com­pared to nat­ives (bot­tom):

While there is some over­lap, the most com­mon oc­cu­pa­tions are dif­fer­ent for nat­ive and im­mig­rant work­ers—and that dif­fer­ence might widen in the fu­ture. En­chauteg­ui men­tions that while the num­ber of U.S. nat­ives without a high school de­gree is de­creas­ing, the share of such im­mig­rant work­ers with this level of edu­ca­tion has been climb­ing. By 2022, 4 mil­lion more jobs that don’t re­quire high school de­grees will be ad­ded to the U.S. job mar­ket. We’ll need low-skilled im­mig­rants to do those jobs, as nat­ive-born work­ers gradu­ate to high­er-skill level po­s­i­tions.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

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