It’s nearly impossible to ignore the recent emphasis on the negative effects of immigration in the U.S., and with 2016 presidential candidates starting to tour the country and explain their views on the top issues facing the nation right now, it’s really hard to avoid reading so many negative comments on immigration statistics.
The silver lining, however, is that more reporters are fighting these harmful stereotypes in order to show that immigrants — regardless of legal status — are people too, and can be very valuable parts of any society if given the opportunity.
For example, a recent article on Business Insider contains a map of the most common job held by immigrants in each state — and no, the top professions aren’t just housekeepers and gardeners, nor are the majority of immigrants criminals, as is claimed by those advocating for stricter illegal immigration laws. In Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, and Maine, immigrants are more likely to be college teachers than anything else. In Delaware, a majority of the immigrant population works in software development. And if you live in South Dakota or New Hampshire and you need medical assistance — whether at a hospital, doctor’s office, or through an at-home visiting service — you’ll find exceptional care coming from many foreign-born nurses.
The point here is that immigrants are essential to so many industries throughout the country. Deporting illegal immigrants and cracking down on federal immigration laws — even though applying to legal immigrants who have gone through the immigration and naturalization process — wouldn’t just be expensive and dangerous; it would also likely cause disruption in many industries throughout the country.
The U.S. began as a country of immigrants, and even if we haven’t realized it in the past, current immigration statistics show that the country is still heavily dependent on these people.
Between 1870 and 1930, it’s estimated that around 30 million immigrants came into the U.S., and the country continues giving out approximately 1,001,715 green cards annually. According to 2012 immigration statistics, an estimated 41 million foreign-born people are living within the U.S., whether legally or illegally, and these people are contributing to the country’s growth by holding important occupations and stimulating the economy.
Quite simply, restricting immigration would be as un-American as outlawing apple pie or baseball — and it’s a good thing that so many people are starting to realize just how important immigrants can be.