Like It or Not, America Needs Immigrants

Undocumented workers are the backbone of the farming and construction industries. America won't survive without them.

While America’s attention is on the border and the Trump zero-tolerance policy that has led to the forced separation of immigrant children from their parents, let’s take a moment to discuss the undocumented migrant workers that are already residing in the U.S.

There are millions of undocumented immigrants that are busy living, working, and paying taxes in America right now, and these people are a crucial part of the U.S. economy. They are building houses, harvesting fruit, and caring for children.

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A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that there are currently around 11 million people living in the U.S. without proper authorization. More than half of that those 11 million coming from Mexico and around 15% of them coming from somewhere else in Latin America. However, that number is down from the 12.2 million people found in 2007.

Out of those 11 million people, roughly 8 million are currently employed which makes up about 5% of the American labor force. Undocumented immigrants are working throughout the U.S., but they definitely make up a higher percentage of the workforce in border states like California, Texas and Nevada.

Although those with anti-immigration views like to argue against the undocumented worker, the simple fact is America needs them. For instance, in 2014 a quarter of the maid and cleaning industry was filled by undocumented workers, and it is expected that an additional 100k jobs will be added by the year 2024. In the construction sector, the U.S. already needs more than 150,000 laborers. As baby boomers age, America will have upwards of 800,000 home health aide jobs to fill.

Dairy farming will no longer be a viable industry if immigration ceases. It already relies on workers from Mexico and Guatemala, and without a visa program that provides for year-round workers the industry will collapse and the price of milk will skyrocket. In fact, the entire agricultural sector is at risk. Farmers are unable to find or keep reliable help outside of the undocumented worker pool because working on farms is labor intensive, dirty work, and is often belittled or socially denigrated by Americans.

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Listening to the anti-immigration rhetoric spewed from the White House, many would think that Americans aren’t aware of the actual impact undocumented workers have on our country and economy, but according to a 2016 poll that isn’t actually the case. 76% of Americans believe that immigrants, even undocumented ones, are hard-working, honest, and integral to the American economy, especially since they fill the jobs that most Americans aren’t willing to fill.

If only our “representative government” would actually represent the views of the many instead of just the hateful few.

Read more about America’s need of immigrants, “These U.S. industries can't work without illegal immigrants” written by Mary Jo Dudley posted by CBS News on June 25, 2018