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Main Points of this Article
In the article, Peri came to the conclusion that in the medium and long-term, immigrant labor increases the welfare of the U.S. on every level. By pushing U.S. citizen laborers to higher paying positions, and increasing the capital investment of firms, the result are in significant increases (in percentage terms) of benefits for the average U.S. citizen on net (on the whole). However, to benefit our own understanding we must analyze Peri’s data for ourselves, and we must attempt analytically to dissect his conclusions to avoid simply confirming our own biases. In this way we can base our opinion on facts.
First we inspect if Peri’s criteria of conclusion is satisfactory. This means, if Peri’s criteria for success is simply that Corporations earn higher profits by using immigrant labor, and thus whatever effects immigrant labor has on U.S. citizens would be less important, then we would need to unpack Peri’s reasoning in order to analyze why that would be his criteria, and how and why we would agree or disagree with Peri’s criteria.
With that in mind, I think Peri’s criteria is on the mark, in that he seems to make his criteria for his conclusion’s mathematically based; and, because it is U.S. citizens who fear being economically hurt by immigrants, Peri bases his criteria with the primary need being that those who would need to benefit most from immigrant labor, would be the majority of U.S. citizens.
Peri lays out well what it is that would need to be analyzed in order to answer that very question,“…we attempt to quantify the aggregate gains and losses for the U.S. economy from immigration. If the average impact on employment and income per worker is positive, this implies an aggregate ‘surplus’ from immigration. In other words, the total gains accruing to some U.S.-born workers are larger than the total losses suffered by others.” The result that will come from Peri’s analyzation must be understood and taken into account by us when we make our decision. And I think we can all agree with what is Peri’s criteria for success that would need to come as a result from immigrant labor in the U.S.
Peri lays out three major points, which he feels spells creates a clear structure of logic that communicates that indeed immigrant labor is a net positive to the entire U.S. citizen population.
Peri’s Three Points
Peri supports his first point with a graph, that is visual representation that not only is there no negative effect on per hour wage for U.S. workers as a result of immigrant labor, but in effect there is a positive effect on per hour wage for U.S. citizen laborers that correlates with rises in rates of immigrant labor, in the long run.
What About People Who Don’t Believe Peri’s Numbers?
Peri first points out that when firms can rely on affordable labor, firms will invest, and the investing will lead to capital creation that would not have otherwise arisen. And when Capital investment raises, the entire U.S. economy and all of its citizens benefit from the expansion, “adjustments businesses make over time…to take advantage of…new immigrant labor supply…upgrading and expanding capital stock, provide businesses with opportunities to expand in response to hiring immigrants”(Peri).
In the end Peri points out perhaps the most easily understandable point of his whole paper, which why on earth is it that immigrants wouldn’t steal jobs from Americans, and why on earth wouldn’t business owners screw U.S. citizens by trying to only hire the cheapest immigrant labor for all jobs. Peri notes, and his conclusion is based on research and facts that “U.S.-born workers tend to specialize in different job tasks Because those born in the United States have relatively better English language skills, they tend to specialize in communication tasks. Immigrants tend to specialize in other tasks, such as manual labor”(Peri).
Communication/manual skills among less-educated
Rytina, Nancy. Baker, Bryan. Estimates of the Lawful Permanent Resident Population in the United States. Jan. 2013. Web. https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ois_lpr_pe_2013_0.pdf
Singer, Audrey. Immigrant Workers in the U.S. Labor Force. Brookings Institute. Web. 2012. http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2012/03/15-immigrant-workers-singer - 1