As the general election picks up, few candidates remaining have faced stains on their campaign due to controversial claims within their platforms. No other candidate has made more of an impact than GOP candidate Donald Trump.
Though much of Trump’s platforms have resulted in backlash, the controversial candidate has continued to grow in popularity. One of his most discussed platforms has revolved around illegal immigration.
According to Trump, illegal immigration has presented itself as the cause of a multitude of poisons for the American economy, from unemployment to tax evasion.
As a result, he has introduced policies advocating for deportation, imprisonment and even the construction of a wall between Mexico and the U.S., claiming that the presence of immigration in the U.S. is a danger.
However, Trump’s platform to combat illegal immigration within the U.S. is not only faulty and misguided, but it will also result in an augmented strain on the American economy.
One of the largest problems with Trump’s platform on immigration is the misconception surrounding the impact of illegal immigrants. Trump has been quoted as calling illegal immigrants “murderers and rapists,” but 87 percent of all illegal immigrants have little to no legal record, as well as invaders who steal our jobs and fail to pay their taxes according to “The Washington Post.” He generalizes illegal immigrants as a negative influence on our society and specifically on our economy. Though it is accepted as fact that illegals are guilty of tax evasion and do not pay income taxes, such as Social Security or Medicare, the majority of perceptions of immigrants are false.
One false perception of illegal immigration is that forced deportation will result in more jobs for Americans. But in fact, immigrants are predicted to provide a large amount of the labor in the American workforce over the next 40 years. To be exact, the loss of these workers would depress the gross domestic product by $1.2 trillion according to “International Business Times.”
With the loss of so many workers, many major industries would also face an increase in marginal cost of production as a result, affecting net price. Due to the fact that many businesses choose to hire illegal immigrants for their low wages, the resulting depletion of available cheap labor would result in a spike of wages and therefore, a spike in prices. This would not only affect the producer but the consumer as well. Since the demand for these products would not falter with Trump’s decision, and if there was a lack of supply, these industries will need to replace the hard physical “dirty” work which is often done by immigrants.
One opposing argument concerning the immigration question is whether unemployed Americans would take the jobs that are displaced by deporting illegal aliens.
Historically when jobs have been vacant because of the removal of illegal immigrants, Americans have been unwilling to fill them.
In Alabama, for example, after House Bill 56 was passed that led to the removal of the majority of all illegal immigrants, the jobs that should’ve been filled by Americans remained empty and crops and businesses failed. Even though the unemployment in the state is at a surprising 18.2 percent, the unemployed did not take the labor intensive jobs according to “Bloomberg.”
Though the entire nation would feel the economic impact, certain states and industries would bare the majority of the economy’s consequences. California, for example, would face a massive hole in product production due to the fact that ten percent of their employees are illegal immigrants according to “The Washington Post.” Specifically, the agriculture industry within California could face extreme repercussions. With a half of the available labor being composed of undocumented workers, their output, which comprises more than half of the fruits and vegetables consumed within the entire country, would cripple. Just as the large industries rely on this cheap source of labor, so do the industries that are highly elastic with employees. As a result of the lack of labor, the elastic industries could face bankruptcy or failure due to such a change in supply, with little to no means of equal replacement.
One of the largest economic impacts of Trump’s planned immigration reform would be the construction and maintenance of a wall along the border of Mexico and the U.S. It is estimated that the cost of constructing the wall could be around $16 million per mile. In order to cover the 1,300 miles which needed to properly secure the border, a total price tag of anywhere to $15 billion to $25 billion would be required. Additionally, the maintenance of the wall would require an additional cost of as much as $750 million a year according to “CNBC.” All these costs are followed by the substantial opportunity cost of the project. The immense price tag of Trump’s wall would limit government spending on valuable infrastructure such as education or defense.
Many of the concerns of the American people are logistical concerns. Trump, however, has used these concerns to forge a false vendetta. This vendetta would do very little to actually better the nation and would only deepen the economic problems of this era.
Deportation and the construction of a wall will only result in negative economic consequences. If we analyze the cause and effects on our economy, it is evident that not only do these immigrants rely on our country, we rely on them for economic stability in our daily lives.