Illegal immigrants are an important part of the U.S. workforce
Donald Trump has been spewing a lot of hateful, awful rhetoric about illegal immigrants. What he’s failed to mention is the extremely crucial role that these men and women play in our society. Undocumented workers make up an important part of the U.S. workforce, pay taxes, and a number of industries rely heavily on them.
Nearly 8 million of the 11.3 million illegal immigrants in the United States have jobs, according to the Pew Research Center. They make up more than half of farmworkers, 15% of construction workers, and almost 10% of the service industry. They also take care of American babies, work in transportation, home health care, and personal care.
They live all throughout the United States but can be found most predominately in the border states of California and Texas.
So, what happens if Trump’s crackdown on undocumented workers continues? Well, according Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program, some major industries will start to decline.
Dairy farms, for instance, rely heavily on immigrants for work. “Thirty New York dairy farmers told us they turned to undocumented workers because they were unable to find and keep reliable U.S. citizens to do the jobs,” Dudley noted. “That’s in part because farm work can be physically demanding, dirty and socially denigrated work. More importantly, it is one the most dangerous occupations in the U.S.”
Without those workers, dairy production would lapse and — according to a study conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research — milk prices could go up by 90% percent.
The same issues will happen with food. Illegal immigrants make up a huge chunk of the agriculture industry, which means that we’ll see a rise in food prices if farms lose their workers.
“Most Americans believe that they have outgrown farm work, which is reflected in their unwillingness to take farm jobs, even temporarily,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman explained in a 2014 report. “…Over five years, an enforcement-only approach would lead to losses in farm income large enough to trigger large scale restructuring of the sector, higher food prices, and greater dependence on imported products.”
And when it comes to paying taxes — they do that, too. Immigrants who are authorized to work in the United States pay the same taxes as US citizens. And, contrary to the popular belief, undocumented immigrants to too. Millions of them file tax returns each year, and they are paying taxes for benefits they can’t even use.
Bottom line: immigrants play a very, very important role in our workforce. If the Trump administration really wants to make America great, he can start by showing some respect to the millions of people who are keeping so many of our industries alive and running.
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