Positive Effects of Immigration

by Nicole Kidder

Immigration is a controversial political issue that invokes passionate reactions on both sides of the debate. Proponents, such as The Hamilton Project, point to numerous benefits of immigration for both the destination country and those migrating. Positive arguments for global mobility include increased workforce productivity, a boost to economies, encouragement of innovation, promotion of tolerance and improved quality of life.

An Economic Boost

While analyzing data provided by the United Nations Population Division, the Pew Research Center discovered that the world’s poorest countries have the fewest migrants. Pew speculates that "not having the money to finance a trip" is a huge hurdle to leaving one's homeland. Still, economic mobility is a major motivation for many to move to a new country. Despite common misconceptions, these self-serving interests among immigrants to improve their social or financial position positively influence the receiving country as well, according to the Hamilton Project. Citing recent academic research, the Project points out that immigrants often fill low-wage jobs that do not require advanced education or proficiency in English. The economic policy organization concludes that this means immigrants complement rather than compete with the native workforce to support the economy and increase productivity.

An Influx of Innovation

According to the Hamilton Project, most Western countries, such as Australia and Canada, have implemented policies that heavily favor economic and education factors when approving immigrants, believing this will enhance the national economy. Well-educated immigrants who possess specialized skills increase the talent pool, infusing a fresh perspective into their industries. The Hamilton Project notes that U.S. immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a new business and three times more likely to file patents than American-born citizens. Additionally, an analysis from the Partnership for a New American Economy found that 41 percent of the 2010 Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. were launched by immigrants or their children.

Diverse Communities Embrace Tolerance

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project suggests that immigration leads to greater understanding of cultural and religious beliefs, which promotes tolerance, acceptance and peacefulness. Although ethnic enclaves continue to thrive in America, integration and assimilation into the social and economic aspects of the country are widespread among recent immigrants, the Hamilton Project states. This is especially true of their children. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 90 percent of children living with recent immigrants speak English fluently.

Improved Quality of Life

Whether a person obtains an immigrant visa, comes to study, applies for asylum from persecution or illegally crosses a border seeking economic opportunities, the decision to start over in a mysterious new country is most often driven by the dream for a better way of life for themselves and their families. Improvement to quality of life can include the freedom to practice a particular religion, the opportunity to make more money or the right to elect leaders. Immigrants also heighten the quality of American lives by “boosting wages and lowering prices,” the Hamilton Project contends. Additionally, says the Hamilton Project, immigrants expand buying power for other Americans by offering lower-cost services for necessary expenses, such as child care, construction repairs and lawn care.

About the Author

A published writer since 1994, Nicole Kidder is the voice of Traditions Wedding Blog. As a cultural journalist, she has contributed to ColorsNW magazine, Travel News Maldives and Senior Health Weekly. Kidder holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Seattle University and is a certified diversity trainer.

Photo Credits

  • SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images