Recently, the Department of Homeland Security finalized their new “public charge” regulation, which essentially orders immigration officials to reject applications from those who hope to enter or stay in the country lawfully with the aid of any public benefits that are associated to this goal. Those with limited means will find it extremely difficult to earn lawful entry or permission to remain in the country as a permanent resident. Many immigrant families, now timid about receiving benefits such as SNAP or Medicaid due to this rule, will refrain from applying for assistance, creating economic uncertainty.
The Administration claims that the rule is designed on the assumption that immigrants of modest means have an adverse effect on the nation and economy, an outright misguided judgment. On the contrary, immigrants are wonderful contributors to the U.S. economy. Having worked in immigration law for more than twenty years, Jean Danhong Chen understands how often the input of immigrants within society is overlooked. She has revealed a couple of factors that demonstrate how immigration is essential for structuring an economy.
Immigrants Help Support Aging U.S. Population
Immigration boosts the national birth rate, a number that has hit a historic low, according to Jean Danhong Chen. An inadequate birth rate hurts the economy tremendously, causing a possible decline in the labor force, limiting demand in certain industries and slowing down the general momentum of the economy. Immigrants are imperative for balancing out the ratio of workers to retirees, particularly when one considers the aging of the baby boom generation. A 2017 NAS report concluded that most of the current and future net workforce growth will be produced by immigrants and their locally born descendants.
Alarming numbers were also found by the Census Bureau, as it predicts, by 2035, the presence of only 2.4 working-age adults in the U.S. for each person age 65 or older. Such a number would be less than any previous decade’s marker on record and, furthermore, the ratio of working-age adults to children and elderly combined is forecasted to drop from 1.6 to 1.3 between 2016 and 2030, remaining there until, conservatively estimating, 2060. Roughly 78 percent of today’s foreign-born population is at a working age (18 to 64-years-old), easily surpassing the 59 percent of Americans. While these statistics are expected to decrease within the next decade, the gap will likely maintain a similar figure, or close to it. Foreign born citizens are integral because they are more probable to enter the work force at a younger age, and possess full-time jobs, than their native counterparts. Putting a restriction on an immigrant’s ability to come into the U.S. will result in less working-age adults and workers in the population soon.
Children of Immigrants Display Significant Upward Mobility
From an economic standpoint, the new rule that prevents immigrants their entry or right to remain in the U.S. is quite baffling, as it neglects the contributions that their children would bring to the nation’s long-term solidity. As evidenced by numerous studies, children of immigrants are inclined to receive greater levels of education, more prosperous earnings, and fill higher-paying positions than that of their parents. A 2015 NAS immigration study discovered that children of foreign-born parents match or eclipse the schooling achievements of the general population of later generations of local-born Americans.
Immigrants who missed out on a high school education still, for the most part, see their children graduate from high school. A 2017 report from the National Academy of Sciences found that 36 percent of new immigrants were without a high school education from 1994 to 1996; however, just 8 percent of second-generation children encountered the same problem two decades later. Also, children of immigrants enjoy a higher completion rate for college, as 43 percent of second-generation children who are now aged 30 or older have a four-year college degree in their hands. That number trumps the 32 percent among immigrants who are in their 50s, as proven by the Census data. Jean Danhong Chen concludes that immigrants have a remarkable capability in assisting the U.S. economy, which begs the question as to why they are being shut out from the country for such inexplicable, vague reasoning that apparently comes down to nothing more than an unfair, inaccurate case of labelling.