Published On: Fri, Jun 5th, 2020

Jean‌ ‌Danhong‌ ‌Chen‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌Positive‌ ‌Economic‌ ‌and‌ ‌Social‌ ‌Impacts‌ ‌of‌ ‌Immigration‌

Immigration has emerged as one of the primary issues in political campaigns all over the world. Despite a historic openness to immigration in the United States which has helped to enrich its culture, expand economic opportunities, and enhance its influence in the world, it remains a topic of debate. 

As an immigration lawyer, Jean Danhong Chen works with hardworking, ambitious, and motivated families eager to immigrate to the United States. Having practiced immigration law since 1998, Jean is a strong believer in the value that immigrants bring to the United States.

photo/ pixabay

An Overview

Before outlining the numerous economic and social benefits of immigration in the United States, Jean Danhong Chen takes the time to dispel the common misconception that the United States is experiencing mass immigration. She explains that the rate of U.S. immigration today is well below its historical average, and below many other advanced nations. The issuance of green cards, or permanent resident visas, to new arrivals has been largely flat since 2008, and fell to a six-year low in 2013. Jean Danhong Chen explains that illegal immigration is also near record lows. According to the Census Bureau, the number of foreign-born residents of the United States was 43.7 million in 2016—0r 13.5% of the total U.S. population. Although growing in recent decades, the immigrant share of the population is still far below its peak of nearly 15% in 1910. 


Additionally, other developed nations, such as Canada and Australia, have a much higher percentage of foreign-born residents than the U.S. There is also a common misconception that immigrants depress wages and take jobs from Americans. 

Increasing both Supply and Demand

Jean Danhong Chen explains that there is no evidence that immigrants cause higher unemployment and immigrants typically complement American workers rather than compete directly with them for jobs. As immigrants supply labor, they also increase demand for housing and other goods and services — so the number of jobs and the size of the workforce tend to grow together. As an example, during the long boom of the 1990s, the national unemployment rate fell below 4% and real wages rose up and down the economic scale during a time of relatively high immigration. In addition, immigrants grease the wheels of the labor market by flowing into industries and areas where there is a relative need for workers, where bottlenecks or shortages might otherwise dampen growth. 

Economic Benefits

One of the major benefits of immigration is that it has a major economic benefit for the entire country. Jean Danhong Chen explains that immigrants fuel entrepreneurship. Immigrants are much more likely to start businesses than U.S.-born citizens, whether it is a corner store or a tech start-up. Among start-up companies that were valued at more than $1 billion in 2016, half were founded by immigrants. Jean Danhong Chen also explains that among Fortune 500 companies, 40% were founded by immigrants or their children. In addition, refugees, a subgroup of the foreign-born population, have a particularly high rate of entrepreneurship — 13% of refugees are business owners, generating $4.6 billion in income in 2015. As a result of these numbers and statistics, city and state leaders are realizing that attracting immigrant entrepreneurs is a crucial piece of economic development strategy. 

photo: photologue_np via Flickr

Expanding Culture

In addition to generating billions of dollars in revenue for the United States, immigrants and their children expand culture by introducing new ideas and customs. Immigrants do change the fabric of society’s culture, but so does new technology, social media, a native-born population and more. Jean Danhong Chen explains that rather than erasing the existing culture, they expand it. New residents enrich the cultural fabric of a country by introducing new foods, music, traditions, beliefs, and interests. As a result, schools are much more likely to develop cross-cultural curriculum, which broadens a child’s understanding of the world and their neighbours. Immigrants add vibrancy and vitality to local communities. 

Final Thoughts from Jean Danhong Chen

Immigrants are playing an increasingly important role in business creation in the United States. Businesses started by immigrant entrepreneurs create millions of jobs and generate billions of dollars in revenue. Not only are immigrant families providing for themselves and their families, but they are helping revitalize neighborhoods, cities, and regions that have seen economic decline. 

Author: Jamie Cartwright

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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