Throughout history, immigration has always been a contentious issue. However, in recent years, there is no other more controversial topic than immigration. It has dominated the political arena, spurred domestic strife, and produced fierce economic debates. Are the conclusions right or wrong? The answer to that question potentially depends on your political leanings.
For many people, it is hard to have an honest discussion in immigration without invoking emotion and feelings. It’s hard to keep personal prejudices out of it, and this goes for both sides of the debate. But for those on the fence on what position to take, they just want the objectivity, the truth, and insightful answers – not buzzwords and soundbytes, and certainly not petulant insults that appeal to the lowest common denominator.
So, what’s true and untrue? Well, let’s examine the pros and cons of immigration and get to the heart of the matter.
Here are the top 10 pros and cons of immigration:
1. New Economic Growth
One of the biggest advantages to immigration is that it brings new waves of economic growth. The first, of course, is that immigrants will fill in the large number of vacant positions on the open market, like a cashier at Tim Hortons or a janitor at a hospital.
The second is imperative: entrepreneurship. Many immigrants start their own businesses, satisfying demand for a particular good or service. This also creates new jobs, offers cheaper goods and services, and improves communities, which is something that is the mandate of the Business Improvement Association (BIA) across the city of Toronto.
In the end, gross domestic product (GDP) receives a boost.
2. Filling Vacant Jobs
There’s a dirty secret in most developed countries: there are jobs that the native population doesn’t want to take. Whether it is at a coffee shop or on farmland, many people will not take jobs that are “beneath” them or outside of their traditional pay grade.
The jobs are out there, hence the surging number of vacancies, but a lot of workers are not taking those positions. It is true that there is a skills gap, but the major factor is unwillingness among those in the labour market to apply for the down and dirty employment opportunities.
3. Advances the Global Market
The economy is only going more global, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When immigrants move to another country, they are also bringing their vast connections, families, and friends to their new home. When an economy is booming like China, the Chinese immigrants will naturally bring lots of advantages to any global market they reach. And this applies to business, too.
For instance, let’s say this new immigrant opened up a rug store or a coffee shop. In addition to relying on local supplies, the businessowner could potentially turn to people he knows back home, whether it is to sell a product or import an essential component to the firm.
4. Lowers POS Prices
Did you know that immigration can lower the prices at point of sale? It’s true.
Because there is a new and rising demand for workers, the correlation is that prices for goods and services drop, benefiting consumers and workers from the lower costs. Every later of a business benefits – supervisors, entry-level clerks, executives, and everyone else.
Moreover, they likely have a direct link to someone who can export cheaper goods, meaning that these immigrant entrepreneurs can undercut their competitors.
5. Improves Age Dependency Ratio
It is no secret that entitlement programs are strained. When things like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) were launched, there were dozens of workers for every one beneficiary. Today, that number has been cut down to only a handful, and that is the dangerous for the pecuniary reliability of these programs.
Since a growing number of the native population are not having children, the government needs to depend on immigrants to fund these overgenerous, financially-strained programs.
6. Brings Down Crime
One of the surprising pros to immigration is that it actually brings down the crime rate. Contrary to popular opinion, immigrants do not cause more crime than the native population. Indeed, anytime an immigrant does cause a crime, it gets blown up for political reasons. However, for the most part, immigrant crime compared to native crime is negligible.
7. Multiculturalism – The Good and Bad
Let’s be candid: not every culture is created equal. All over the world, there are good cultures and bad ones. Some cultures are archaic and regressive and treat certain citizens like they are cattle. Many times, countries allow individuals from these states to pour in and bring their practices with them.
Is this good for a western society to import, particularly one that values equality and justice for all? There are good arguments for whether multiculturalism is a pro or con of immigration, and your views may vary depending on your cultural beliefs.
8. Boost Disease Transmission
Disease transmission might be one of the unfortunate disadvantages of immigration. As legendary economist Walter Williams wrote in August 2018:
“Because there have been no medical examinations of undocumented immigrants, we have no idea how many are carrying infectious diseases that might endanger American children when these immigrants enter schools across our nation.”
This is a terrifying prospect for nations that have either eradicated these problems or are using vaccines, public awareness campaigns, and public policy to limit their prevalence. Most immigrants who come into this country legally need to go through a series of checks and balances to ensure they’re not harboring any serious illness.
But what happens if the system fails? Then you could possibly have a serious outbreak on your hands.
9. Drains Education and Health Resources
Public services are drained by the present population levels. Education is being weighed down by high enrollment numbers, healthcare is in a crisis, and local services need to find new ways to maintain operations without implementing cutbacks.
Unfortunately, the system cannot handle additional pressure. Sure, the longer immigrants stay in the country, the more they will pay into the system. Initially, however, they will take more than they pay in, and that isn’t something our current government services can endure.
10. Possibilities of Wage Disparities
Are immigrants willing to accept a job at lower wage rate than a local non-immigrant? This is a real issue in both the developed and developing world. So, if there are more than enough immigrants willing to accept work at a lower wage, then it can produce a wage disparity, impacting job and income growth.
The resistance to immigration isn’t a new phenomenon. It has been around for a long time. In Canada, the population feared the Irish and the Chinese. In the United States, the population is concerned about third-world migration. In Europe, the population is worried about the Middle Eastern crisis seeping into their fabric. Indeed, the immigration discussion has been bastardized by the press, transforming the conversation into one-word terms. This is intellectually dishonest and affects those who want the truth.