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Deporting Customers Hurts the Economy

June 24, 2013 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Immigration is mainly about economics. Immigrants are drawn to America’s economic prosperity, and many U.S.-born are anxious that immigrants will somehow ruin it once they arrive. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) went so far as to say the current immigration reform bill before the Senate would “take jobs and pay from U.S. workers.”

Those critics of immigration forget that immigrants aren’t just workers, they are also consumers of products made by Americans.

Hispanic and Asian Americans have around $1.9 trillion in annual purchasing power — about 16 percent of total purchasing power, according to a recent report from the Selig Center of Economic Growth from the University of Georgia. Hispanic and Asian immigrants have dominated both lawful and unlawful immigration in recent decades, while their Americanized descendants are responsible for much of American population growth.

Without that $1.9 trillion in purchasing power, Americans will have lower wages and fewer employment opportunities. Immigrants and their descendants did not take that $1.9 trillion in wealth from Americans — they made it by working, creating businesses, and making the goods and services that people want to buy. In turn, they spend much of it here.

Immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy and create wealth, and ample numbers of them should be allowed to legally come, work, and remain.”

Some critics will say, “But I see immigrants shopping at immigrant owned stores. That doesn’t help Americans.” It actually does. The American economy is so interconnected that even if immigrants mostly buy from immigrant owned businesses, U.S.-born Americans still benefit.

Take agriculture as an example. In some states, most agricultural workers are immigrants — most of them illegal. More lower-skilled immigrant workers allow farmers to plant more food of a greater variety, which reverberates up and down the chain of production.

Truck drivers, mechanics, agronomists, and others see their incomes rise and employment opportunities multiply when farmers increase production because of more immigrant workers. Best of all, American consumers get more food at a lower price, freeing up income for spending elsewhere.

But immigrants also buy goods that they had a hand in producing. From groceries to cell phone contracts to gasoline, immigrants buy goods and services at least partly produced by Americans. Unless immigrants only buy goods and services produced by other immigrants at every stage of production, which is practically impossible in our economy, many Americans end up selling …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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