The Impacts of Proposed Immigration Policies
How Artificial Intelligence Can Gauge If Americans Are Ready to Bare the Cost
By Carol Ozemhoya, Contributing Editor, Vector
The state of immigration and undocumented workers in the U.S. is a hot topic on the minds of many Americans these days.. Even after the courts denied the new President's initial executive order, possible policy changes continue to be a hot button of contention, especially among those who want to stay and work in this country, as well as the companies that hire them.
And then there is the economic impact that will affect Americans from just about every facet of life.
Unfortunately, when some people think of immigrants, they think of those that are here illegally (undocumented) or those that make few positive contributions to our society.
There is also a lot of misconception regarding the immigrant work force. People tend to have a picture of field workers as well as housekeepers.
But the facts tell a different story... millions of immigrants are highly skilled and have a huge economic impact - in the billions - on the U.S. economy.
The Economic Impact: The Facts
According to Pew Research, 46,630,000 people living in the U.S. in 2015 were born in other countries.
The highest numbers came from Mexico, India, Southeast Asia, China, Philippines and Vietnam.
Homeland Security estimates about 11.4 undocumented immigrants were in the country (2012)... and 20 percent of those have been here for 20 years or more.
Economic statistics are even more stunning... the estimated gross domestic product (GDP) loss if all undocumented workers were removed from the United States would likely be far-reaching and possibly devastating to our economy, according to research from several sources, including Statista.com, the Congressional Budget Office and conservative think tank American Action Forum.
As of September 2016, the manufacturing industry alone would suffer an estimated 74-billion-dollar decline in GDP output if all undocumented immigrant workers were removed from the U.S.
Other industries that would be hit hard include:
- Wholesale and retail - $65 billion
- Leisure and hospitality - $54 billion
- Financial - $54 billion
- Construction - $48 billion
- Professional and business services - $36 billion
But those are just surface numbers... there would also likely be a significant impact on Americans as tax-paying citizens, according to numbers compiled by a variety of resources.
In fact, the cost of deporting and removing the estimated 11.4 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., coupled with the loss of GDP associated with them, could send the country into a depression.
For example, the cost, according to articles in Forbes and the Atlantic, is an astounding $1. 6 trillion in GDP and 5.7 percent in economic growth.
Those costs may fall on American taxpayers to foot the bill.
Ben Gitis, director of labor market policy at the American Action Forum, wrote in a white paper that: "We build on previous American Action Forum (AAF) research that found it would take at least 20 years and cost to federal government $400 billion to $600 billion to remove all undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States and to prevent all future unlawful entry."
The bottom line, writes Gitis: "More alarming would be the economic costs of this policy. In particular, in just two years it would shrink the labor force by 10.3 million workers and reduce real GDP by $1 trillion."
Wait, There's More
The potential impact of proposed new immigration policies doesn't end with undocumented workers. There are an estimated 46 million immigrants in the U.S., of which only about 11 million are undocumented.
Millions of people here on work visas provide a work force in highly skilled areas, such as technology and medical.
The CEOs of several Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, have already requested a meeting with the president to discuss the impact of restricting work visas, especially in the high-tech arena.
According to Statista.com, the tech sector is heavily reliant on hiring talent from abroad, a practice made possible through the H-1B visa program for specialized workers. The tech industry is the main beneficiary of the program, with 65 percent of workers who received a H-1B visa in 2014 working in computer-related occupations.
And just recently (Feb. 22), the Wall Street Journal reported: "As population ages and fertility rates fall, building up the labor force will be tough without immigrants."
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee earlier this month that she thought that restricting immigration could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy.
"Labor force growth has been slowing in the United States. It's one of several reasons along with slow productivity growth for the fact that our economy has been growing at a slow pace, Yellen said. "Immigration has been an important source of labor force growth. So slowing the pace of immigration probably would slow the growth rate of the economy."
Business Insider wrote on Feb. 14: "Numerous studies have shown, however, that immigration of any type is an overall positive for the labor market, and Wall Street economists have cited possible immigration crackdowns as a drag on future economic growth, as it would restrict an already shrinking supply of labor, especially for low-wage jobs."
At the same time, others contend that allowing an open immigration policy not only takes away jobs for Americans, it also puts the country's security at risk.
Using Artificial Intelligence to Assess Public Sentiment of New Policies
For millions of immigrant workers and the companies that employ them, information is key to their survival in today's fickle political climate as policies are put into effect.
One way to interpret what's going on is through artificial intelligence, in particular Vector's sentiment analysis programs. By accessing social media and reliable news sources, the system can test the waters on different groups of people (or customers as the case may be) on how they feel about certain topics, such as "immigration" or the "H1-B visa."
The data gathered from these searches, referred to as "Topic Models," can be used to detect sentiment among different groups, such as voting blocks or customer groups. The information can aide a company in modifying its products, its messaging and its public policies.
Sentiment analysis can also prove to be a critical component of econometric algorithms that detect mid-term election outcomes. In other words, these types of analysis can provide a firm or even an individual with tools that will enable them to understand how the current and historical sentiment on these topics could impact their bottom line.
Sentiment analysis has been years in the making. With the power of social media at an all-time high, artificial intelligence such as Vector's sentiment analysis can provide a heads up on public sentiment and keep a firm's bottom line in the black.
Vector is a natural language processing application that performs information extraction on millions of news stories per day. It provides high value to any quantitative researcher, adding a collaborative-authoring work flow in perfect synergy with the most powerful and unique faceted search in the business. For more information, please visit www.indexer.me.
Vector website: http://www.indexer.me
Press kit: http://www.indexer.me/media-kit.html
Indexer is a tech start-up in the artificial intelligence space and has a focus on computer vision and natural language processing technologies.