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Economics of Immigration

A Conversation about the Economic Effects of Immigration on African Americans

By Gerald D. Jaynes

Anti-immigrant groups have repeatedly tried to drive a wedge between African Americans and immigrants by capitalizing on the myth that immigrants take American jobs. In a new Perspectives piece for the Immigration Policy Center, Yale Professor Gerald Jaynes dispels the myth that immigrants take “black jobs” and instead suggests we find solutions on how to lift up all low-wage American workers.

Most African Americans are very conflicted about the immigration issue. African Americans, who have long espoused strong beliefs in principles of equality of opportunity, the rights of the downtrodden, and respect for humanity viewed in its broadest terms, are especially cognizant of the hypocrisy embedded within ethnocentric demands for an end to immigration. For the nation, immigration‘s economic benefits exceed its costs, but the costs are disproportionately borne by certain social groups and geographic areas. Rather than divide the public over the issue of depriving the country of the benefits to help the few who pay the highest costs, we need to be engaging in a political debate over the kinds and levels of compensatory policies that should be enacted to help low‐income citizens.

Published On: Tue, Jul 14, 2009 | Download File

Immigration Reform Cited as an Economic Necessity and a Net Gain

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has culled the words of leading economists and numerous experts who agree that immigration reform is an economic necessity and a net gain to the U.S. economy.

Published On: Tue, Apr 28, 2009 | Download File

What Immigration Reform Could Mean for the U.S. Economy

Now more than ever, Americans are seeking real solutions to our nation’s problems, and there is no better place to start than protecting our workers, raising wages, and getting our economy moving again.  Part of this massive effort must include workable answers to our critically important immigration problems.

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Published On: Wed, Apr 01, 2009 | Download File

From Denial to Acceptance: Effectively Regulating Immigration to the United States

U.S. immigration policy is based on denial. Most lawmakers in the United States have largely embraced the process of economic “globalization,” yet stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that increased migration, especially from developing nations to developed nations, is an integral and inevitable part of this process.

Published On: Sun, Mar 29, 2009 | Download File

Fewer Job Openings Equals Fewer Immigrants:Undocumented Immigration Slows Along With the U.S. Economy

According to new estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States did not increase between 2007 and 2008, and may actually have fallen. These findings should come as no surprise given the current state of the economy.

Published On: Wed, Oct 01, 2008 | Download File

Money for Nothing: Immigration Enforcement without Immigration Reform Doesn

While the U.S. government has poured billions upon billions of dollars into immigration enforcement, the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has increased dramatically. Rather than reducing undocumented immigration, this enforcement-without-reform strategy has diverted the resources and attention of federal authorities to the pursuit of undocumented immigrants who are drawn here by the labor needs of our own economy.

Published On: Thu, May 22, 2008 | Download File

The Politics of Contradiction: Immigration Enforcement vs. Economic Integration

Since the mid-1980s, the federal government has tried repeatedly, without success, to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants to the United States with immigration-enforcement initiatives: deploying more agents, fences, flood lights, aircraft, cameras, and sensors along the southwest border with Mexico; increasing the number of worksite raids and arrests conducted throughout the country; expanding detention facilities to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants apprehended each year; and creating new bureaucratic procedures to expedite the return of detained immigrants to their home countries.  At the same time, the economic integration of North America, the western hemisphere, and the world has accelerated, facilitating the rapid movement of goods, services, capital, information, and people across international borders.  Moreover, the U.S. economy demands more workers at both the high-skilled and less-skilled ends of the occupational spectrum than the rapidly aging, native-born population provides.  The U.S. government’s enforcement-without-reform approach to undocumented immigration has created an unsustainable contradiction between U.S. immigration policy and the U.S. economy.  So far, the economy is winning.

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Published On: Wed, May 21, 2008 | Download File

It's Tax Time! Immigrants and Taxes: Contributions to State and Federal Coffers

Tax Day would seem to be an appropriate time to inject some bottom-line reality into the long-running debate over whether or not immigrants in the United States “pay their own way” as taxpayers.   As with nearly all aspects of the immigration debate, the controversy over how immigrants impact the public treasury is far too often dominated by emotionally charged rhetoric rather than hard facts.  Many of these much-needed facts are provided in a forthcoming report from the Immigration Policy Center by Stephen Moore, Senior Economics Writer at the Wall Street Journal and former director of Fiscal Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ohio University.  Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2005 Current Population Survey and other sources, Moore and Vedder find that immigrants not only pay their own way in taxes, but play a hefty role in shoring up the teetering Social Security system, and provide a fiscal windfall to U.S. taxpayers by tending to come to the United States during their prime working years—after the costs of their education and upbringing have been borne by their home countries. Read more...

Published On: Sat, Apr 12, 2008 | Download File

Why DHS's Supplemental Rule Regarding Social Security “No-Match” Letters is Bad for Workers, Employers, and the Economy

Information on the impact of DHS's rule on U.S. citizens, authorized workers, and the economy.

Published On: Fri, Mar 21, 2008 | Download File

Five Facts About Undocumented Workers in the United States

Includes information on immigrants' language acquisition, tax payments, and effects on U.S. workers and the U.S. labor market.

Published On: Fri, Feb 01, 2008 | Download File