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Undocumented workers do not affect U.S. unemployment rate, wages

Bronx employers may be interested in knowing that the use of undocumented workers does not have a noticeable impact on the nationwide unemployment rate, according to a new study. While the argument that getting rid of undocumented workers would solve all of our nation's unemployment woes, that simply is not the case. Nor does the hiring of undocumented workers affect the wage levels of citizens in the same position.

According to research conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the earning potential of citizens at firms that employ undocumented workers only has a variable impact of $56 or less per year. In fact, the study also found that companies that utilize alien workers, particularly in retail, hospitality and leisure industries, allow their citizens to earn more money because the employees are able to specialize in specific areas of their industry.

The Department of Homeland Security says there approximately 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in our workforce. This study suggests that the unemployment rates would still remain the same, even if we got rid of all the undocumented workers. While some various state anti-immigration laws are written with the expectation that it would be easier for job-seekers to find work if there were fewer undocumented immigrants, the unemployment rates and wage levels would not change.

Immigration law will continue to be a hot-button issue throughout the presidential election, as new proposed laws authorize police to request proof of citizenship from anyone detained and Mitt Romney has proposed the idea of self-deportation for illegal immigrants.

Source:, "Undocumented Workers Have 'Negligible Impact' On Wages: Study," Bonnie Kavoussi, April 12, 2012

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