Labor and Work Discussion

Reply to each of the responses posts below. Each reply should be at least 100 words. You may reply with your concerns\questions. Your two responses should be separated.
response post1: Vanda Felbab-Brown is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and an expert on international affairs. She received her doctorate in political science from MIT and her bachelors from Harvard. She authored the essay, “The Wall – The Real Costs of a Barrier between the United States and Mexico”.(Felbab-Brown).

In this essay Dr Brown focuses on the implications for the wall/fence that was highly publicized by President Trump and that is currently being built. A section of her essay is dedicated to economic impact of the wall. She points out President Trump’s assertion that immigrants to the United States steal jobs and suppress wages. She then argues the opposite.

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It is clear that President Trump prescribes to competition theory and Dr Brown, for the most part, prescribes to complementarity theory. She point out that immigrants can indeed have a negative/competitive impact on US born high school drop-outs and on prior immigrants because they largely compete for the same low-skilled jobs. But she also explains that, for the majority of US born workers, immigrants have no negative impact because they are usually performing strenuous jobs for long hours and low wages; jobs that most US born workers do not want to for the wages those jobs garner. She uses the fish cutting industry as an example of an area where there are not enough US born workers willing to perform that work. The fish cutting industry would not survive if not for immigrant labor.

Dr Brown further points out that immigrant labor is essential and actually beneficial/complementary to the US economy. As the US born population is declining and getting older, if we were to reduce the amount of immigrant workers, our country would not have the human capital required to expand the economy.

In my company’s factories, the vast majority of the employees are immigrants. If President Trump succeeds in lowering the amount of immigrants that can enter the US, will we be able to recruit replacements as our current workforce retires?

https://www.brookings.edu/essay/the-wall-the-real-costs-of-a-barrier-between-the-united-states-and-mexico/Links to an external site.

Works Cited
Felbab-Brown, Wanda. “The Wall – The real costs of a barrier between the United States and Mexico.” August 2017. https://www.brookings.edu/essay/the-wall-the-real-costs-of-a-barrier-between-the-united-states-and-mexico/. July 2020.

response post2: This article, “Immigrants as Economic Contributors: Complementing not Competing”, written by Dan Kosten explains some key differences between the immigration workforce and the U.S. born workforce. This comparison is to highlight that immigrants do not compete with the U.S. born workforce, rather, they fill different positions that normally are opted for. He shows the differences in the industries mostly employed by each group, such as construction and maintenance versus management and sales, due to the different education levels and skills needed to work in them. He further illustrates that there is no competition stating, “If immigrants were taking jobs from the U.S.-born, the expectation would be that areas with high levels of recent immigration would also have high unemployment rates. A study conducted in 2009 found there was little apparent relationship between recent immigration and unemployment at the regional, state, or county level,” (pg. 2). This quote highlights that immigrants complement the workforce by providing necessary labor in industries that would not survive without them.

Also, the decline in labor rates does not put the blame on immigrants because U.S. born workers have the option of retirement, disability, or educational opportunities to decrease their participation in the labor workforce. Finally, the notion of competition between immigrants and the U.S. born workforce is further dispelled because there are still labor shortages in certain industries that would not be a problem if there was extreme competition. Overall, this article proves to combat the idea of competition between immigrants and the U.S. born workforce based on statistics and societal ideals. Immigrants complement the workforce and enable the United States to continue functioning with the extremely necessary participation in the workforce.

Question: Do you think the country would be different, socially, if the idea of “competition” between immigrants and the U.S. born workforce was eradicated? If so, how? If not, why not?

Article Link https://immigrationforum.org/article/immigrants-economic-contributors-complementing-not-competing/

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