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How America’s Immigrant Workforce is Changing

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Immigrants account for 17 percent of the American labor force. The U.S. needs all of these immigrant workers; as baby boomers retire and birth rates fall, the nation has fewer native born workers to draw on. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. workforce will shrink dramatically over the next 20 years if the current rate of immigration is not maintained.

Immigrants work in many different industries across the nation. Agricultural workers and maids may first come to mind, but immigrants are also media and communication workers, tailors and dressmakers, taxi drivers, personal appearance workers, and plasterers and installers of drywall. Previously many immigrants were actively working in the construction industry during the housing boom. When the market collapsed they returned home to Mexico and the Americas. Now that the market has recovered, home builders are experiencing a labor shortage.

The American Economy Relies on Immigrants

It has become harder for those workers to return to the United States because of stricter enforcement of immigration laws, a trend that started under President Obama. Farmers confirm they are also having difficulties finding agricultural workers. Even after raising wages to as high as $12 and $15 per hour, farm owners say they have to beg for workers to stay and some farms are left with produce rotting in the fields.

The face of America’s immigrants has changed over the last half century. Europeans and Canadians were the dominant groups in the 1960’s and 70’s. Then in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s millions of people came to the United States from Mexico and the Americas driven by poor economies at home. Seeking better fortune in the U.S., which was experiencing a housing boom, they came over. Blue-collar jobs in the U.S. paid much better wages than even white-collar jobs back in Mexico.

In 2009 the number of undocumented immigrants working in America peaked at 8.3 million but since then it has gone down to 8 million. Following the Great Recession, jobs here were scarcer, but Mexico’s economy started to improve. Border security increased making it harder to cross.

Today’s immigrant is more likely to be from Asia and Pew projects that by 2055 Asian immigrants will become the largest immigrant group in the United States. From 2004 to 2015, Asian immigrants went from 22 percent of new arrivals to 37 percent.

Contact a Philadelphia Immigration Lawyer at Surin & Griffin, P.C. for Counsel on All Immigration Issues

The Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are experienced, multilingual, and can help you with any immigration issue you may have. With our extensive knowledge of immigration law, we can represent you or your business in any situation from work visas to citizenship. Call us at 215-925-4435 to schedule a consultation about your case or contact us online. From our Philadelphia offices we have helped clients here and around the globe solve their immigration problems.