The term "immigration" refers to the movement of people from different parts of the world into a particular area or nation. In the United States, immigration is a hotly-debated political issue, especially when it comes to illegal immigration. Although different people view immigration from different perspectives, immigration does bring several objective benefits to the United States.
Positive Economic Effects
Immigration provides several economic benefits to the United States. Many immigrants work in low-paying jobs that most Americans are not willing to work. This provides cheap labor for many industries and keeps the American economy functioning. At the opposite end of the economy spectrum, the Cato Institute reports that one-quarter of all U.S. engineering and technology companies founded between 1995 and 2005 had at least one key founder who was foreign-born. Additionally, 25 percent of patents filed in 2005 listed an immigrant as an inventor or co-inventor. These findings suggest that immigration helps to keep the American economy innovative.
Benefits to Taxpayers
According to the Washington Post, illegal immigration has a positive effect on the average U.S. taxpayer. This is because immigrants in the United States pay more in taxes than they consume in social services. Although many immigrants pay both federal and state taxes, as well as Social Security, they never have the opportunity to reclaim this money because they are not citizens. On average, this reduces the tax burden on native-born American citizens. However, this effect varies by location; states with high immigrant populations and generous social services often experience a net loss in tax revenue.
Greater Cultural Diversity
Immigrants come to the United States from all parts of the globe. Racial, cultural and ethnic diversity expose American citizens to new ideas and new ways of life. Diversity introduces Americans to new forms of cuisine, religion and language, and helps to educate American citizens about ways of life from different parts of the world. Although diversity may at first cause conflict between people of different races and ethnicity, generations of contact reduce ethnic conflict.