Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Economics of Immigration

Does immigration burden or benefit the U.S. economy? This year, several reports have been released demonstrating the economic value of immigration to the United States. It's often hard to step away from the emotional and moral aspects of the debate, but factual, objective research forms the strongest foundation for fair and effective immigration reform. Check out a few reports below:

- The Hamilton Project, a research project with the Brookings Institution, released a paper called Ten Economic Facts About Immigration. The paper's main conclusions are that immigrants come from diverse backgrounds, cover a wide spectrum of skill sets, and generally pay more taxes than they receive in benefits. These might seem obvious, but anti-immigrant arguments often dispute these claims. Read more here.
- A study conducted by the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress states that comprehensive immigration reform with a path to legal status would increase U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by at least .84 percent. Over ten years, GDP would increase by $1.5 trillion, cumulatively. Mass deportation would reduce GDP by 1.46 percent and would lead to widespread job loss for higher skill natives.
- A paper published through the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco argues that instead of competing for the same jobs, employers hire immigrant workers for low-skill jobs, which expands job opportunities for native-born workers and result in a more productive economy.

Immigrants who come to the U.S. want to be productive members of society, and the research above indicates that regardless of legal status, they are integral parts of our economy. We already believe that immigrants have human and civil rights and deserve to be treated with respect, but it appears in order to change minds about comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S., that alone will not suffice. Hopefully, this research can help inform our conversations about immigration and support our work towards immigration reform.

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