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It is disheartening to realize that nearly identical arguments have been made about successive groups of immigrants since Franklin’s time. Politicians at all levels make negative statements about immigration, but the 2016 presidential election was a low point in recent years for rhetoric on immigration and immigrants themselves.These arguments correspond more with broader social and economic anxieties than with particular characteristics of the immigrant groups to which they are directed. ..2016 presidential election was a low point in recent years for rhetoric on immigration and immigrants themselves.
Actually, the impacted low-wage workers are often recent immigrants, not native-born American workers.
Economic studies of the effect of immigrants on wages show an incredibly modest negative effect on low-wage workers in the short run only.
This only adds to the anguish over losing a job and promotes fear and hostility to immigrant labor. A new worker like an immigrant who enters the labor market does not need to displace a currently-employed worker in order to find a position.
In fact, immigrants often are not perfect substitutes for native-born American workers and are therefore not competing directly with each other for the same positions.
They do so despite consistent evidence that immigrants do not cause their problems.
Unfortunately, these concerns are as old as the Founding Fathers.
Their skills typically complement native-born workers’ skills, seeking positions where there is a scarcity of native born labor.
This complementarity happens for immigrant workers at all skill levels.
While the Declaration of Independence argued for the American colonies’ right to populate through immigration, Benjamin Franklin expressed misgivings about the German immigrants to Pennsylvania.
He complained that they would never assimilate to the culture and customs established by the English colonists.