Fortuny et al. (2) explain that immigrant status has a way of affecting families through their education. They report that immigrants’ children tend to report lower enrollment rates than their native counterparts. This applies especially to children between the ages of 3 and 5. The low rates are particularly attributed to children of Central American, South East Asian and Mexican origins.
Additionally, it has been shown that language may still be a barrier for the parents of these children since more than fifty percent of them are still ranked as English language learners rather than proficient speakers of the language. The lack of language skills in the United States does substantially harbor their economic or social opportunities and eventually diminishes these families’ chances.
Greenstone and Looney (6) claim that a low percentage of the immigrant population is likely to get a high school diploma. This is attributed to the fact that about a third of the immigrant population did not complete high school. Among native US citizens, the percentage drops as low as five percent.
If a high number of immigrants lack high school education when the rest of the population does, then it is likely to affect individuals’ life chances negatively by denying them the opportunity to do so in the future. Furthermore, if the said individual belongs to a low income family then that person may continue perpetuating the cycle of poverty because of this fact.
In terms of the impact of the immigrant issue on the entire US society, Greenstone and Looney (7) explain that instead of lowering standards of living in the US, these individuals are actually increasing it and making things better for natives. This is because (as the authors explain) most immigrants are likely to take jobs that natives would not be interested in such as contractors or farmers.
By offering these low skilled low paying services to the immigrants, natives can then get opportunities to concert on expansion and other business related aspects. On top of this, it has been shown that native businessmen are also likely to develop so as to serve a new population in a specific location. In other words, one is likely to see more stores, industries and restaurants open up when a high number of immigrants has been reported.
Chapman and Berstein (3) explain the overall effects of immigrants on American society even better by looking at the share effect and the income effects. A share effect normally arises within the American populations after it has been shown that there was a rising number of immigrants in the country. However, its effect on poverty within the country can only be fully assessed by understanding and assessing the income effect.
If the overall immigrant poverty rates were much lower than they were in the past, as seen through the census figures then one can ascertain that the ability to reduce poverty more than made up for the share effect. In certain periods such as between 1994 and 2000, it was shown that poverty rates among the population declined much more rapidly than they did among natives. At that time, poverty rates fell by 2.7 more times than they did among natives.
It has been shown that native status of the immigrant family does affect the amount of income earned by a family by Chapman and Berstein (10). These authors came to find out that immigrants tend to survive on less family income than native populations. However, this does not mean that the figures will simply stay static. Even when it has been shown that immigrants have a significantly high share of the poverty rate, this will not automatically translate into negative effects for the natives because the figures can keep changing for the better.
Chapamn, Jeff & Bernstein, Jared. Immigration and poverty. How are they linked? Monthly labor review, 10(2003), 1-4. Available from http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2003/04/art2full.pdf accessed on 15 October 2010
Greenstone Michael and Looney Adam. Thee economic facts about immigration. Policy memo, September 2010. Available from http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2010/09_immigration_greenstone_looney/09_immigration.pdf accessed on 15 October 2010
Fortuny, Karina, Hernandez Donald and Chaudry, Ajay. Young children of immigrants, Urban institute brief paper, 3. Available from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412203-young-children.pdf accessed on 15 October 2010