Illegal Immigrants Better Workers Than Americans, Study Finds: What It Means For Politics

A recent Harvard study concerning illegal immigrants in America revealed some statistics that will be shocking, especially to anti-immigration enforcers like Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign followers.

Possibly the most significant finding made by the study, and certainly the one prompting the most headlines across the media, is that illegal immigrant men boast a much higher employment rate — 86.6 percent — than that of men who are American citizens — 73.9 percent. The men sampled were of a similar age range, and the sample was taken from 2012 to 2013.

Legal immigrants were also found to have a considerably higher employment rate than U.S. citizens, but that’s neither here nor there.

Illegal Immigrants Are the true backbone of American job market Illegal immigrants are employed more often than natural-born U.S. citizens. [Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]At first glance, this illegal immigrants finding might seem to poke a huge hole in the harsh immigration reform practiced by right-wing extremists like Donald Trump, who has famously ripped into the illegal immigrant community at every chance he gets.

After all, the findings very much support a point already used to argue against Trump’s immigration policy — that illegal immigrant labor is a huge and valuable component of the American economy.


The Harvard study notes that undocumented workers make up five percent of the nation’s entire workforce, and the New York Times argues that if that five percent were removed, the United States’ political ecosystem would implode.

“Immigrant workers aren’t a ‘cheap labor’ alternative, as so many Americans think,” the article explains.

“They are the only labor available to do many unskilled jobs, and if they were eliminated, most would not be replaced. Instead, whole sectors of the economy would shrivel, and with them, many other jobs often filled by more skilled Americans.”

In fact, it points out, many jobs held by illegal immigrants support three or four higher-level jobs.


But although one might think the illegal immigrant study results are nothing but bad news for immigration reformists, they actually provide a very valid argument in favor of reform.

And that argument is that if these illegal immigrants make up such a large percentage of the U.S. workforce, it is because they are undercutting citizens by agreeing to work for rock-bottom wages.


According to a 2015 survey by Rasmussen Reports, over 50 percent of U.S. citizens are concerned about illegal immigrants constricting the job market, and the Harvard findings undoubtedly strengthen the argument.

In fact, Donald Trump will undoubtedly be playing up the study in one of his speeches, as illegal immigration reform is one of his 2016 campaign’s key issues. Especially now that the issue of illegal immigrants and the dangers they may pose has been brought back into the limelight as a result of the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, you can expect to hear about the study from Trump any day now.


Some communities have already attempted to do something about the “illegal immigrants taking American jobs” issue, but Trump will more than likely use the extremely high-profile study to once again bring the issue to the national forefront.


On which side of this issue do you fall? Is a phasing out of the illegal immigrant workforce in order? And if so, is it possible to do it without breaking the economy?

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]