The Huffington Post
September 26, 2012
“They’re stealing our jobs.”
This anti-immigrant argument posits that immigrants coming to the United States harm native citizens by taking jobs that otherwise would be filled by Americans. The implication — sometimes more explicitly expressed — is that we should limit immigration because doing so would result in more jobs for the 8.1% of unemployed American workers who desperately need them. The problem with this argument, however, is that it forgets that immigrants bring new skills that help grow our economy, creating new jobs that benefit us all.
Data show that immigrants are highly entrepreneurial, putting their skills to good use creating new jobs in the U.S. economy. A June 2012 study published by the Fiscal Policy Institute reports that 18% of all small business owners in the U.S. are immigrants. This is especially impressive considering immigrants make-up less than 16% of the civilian labor force and account for less than 13% of the total U.S. population. That same report finds that among small businesses for which at least half of the founders were immigrants, these firms “employed an estimated 4.7 million people” and “generated an estimated total of $776 billion in receipts in 2007, the most recent year for which these data are available.”