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Immigration and Unemployment

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

Untying the Knot Series: Unemployment and Immigration

By Rob Paral

Untying the Knot (Part I of III): The Unemployment and Immigration Disconnect

With Congress once again poised to consider comprehensive immigration reform, a key question confronting lawmakers is to what extent immigration and unemployment are related. Opponents of immigration reform frequently argue that immigrants “take” jobs away from many native-born workers, especially during economic hard times. Yet an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau clearly reveals that this is not the case. In fact, there is little apparent relationship between recent immigration and unemployment rates at the regional, state, or county level.

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Published On: Tue, May 19, 2009 | Download File

Recapture of Unused Immigrant Visas: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Critics of H.R. 5882, a bill that would would allow visas that have gone unused due to bureaucratic delays to be "recaptured" and issued to family- or employment-based legal immigrants, claim it will needlesly create new visas. The fact is that "recapturing" lost visas would not authorize any new green cards; it would allow the government to issue green cards that Congress has already authorized.

Published On: Tue, Sep 09, 2008 | Download File

Dangerous Business: Implications of an EEVS for Latinos and the U.S. Workforce

Covers the effects of a national employment eligibility verification system on Latinos and the U.S. workforce more generally.

Published On: Sun, Aug 31, 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

Demographics: High Skill Immigration

Answers the questions: How many high-skilled immigrant workers are in the U.S.?;

Published On: Tue, Jan 01, 2008 | Download File

Myths and Facts: Displacement of Workers & Downward Pressure on Wages

NUMBERS  Opponents of a more robust H-1B program declare that immigrant workers, particularly high skill workers, displace U.S. workers and drive down the wages of those workers.  In many areas of the country, however, businesses are encountering something quite different:  that there simply are not enough qualified, high skill U.S. workers to fill the needs of U.S. employers.  High skill foreign professionals are therefore essential in filling these needs and complementing the native born workforce.  Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jan 01, 2008 | Download File

Demographics: Low Skill Immigration

Answers the questions, How many low-skilled immigrant workers are in the U.S.?

Published On: Tue, Jan 01, 2008 | Download File

Low Wage Worker Myth & Facts

Myth: Foreign low wage workers depress the wages of U.S. workers.
Fact: Immigrants don’t have a negative impact on the majority of native born workers, and often exact a positive impact. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jan 01, 2008 | Download File

Immigration and the Elderly: Foreign-Born Workers in Long-Term Care

By Walter Leutz, Ph.D.

Aging populations and the growing need to provide long-term care to the elderly are among the leading demographic, political, and social challenges facing industrialized countries, including the United States. As of 2004, 34.7 million people in this country had lived to their 65th birthday or beyond, accounting for about 12 percent of the U.S. population. Nearly 90 percent of the elderly population is native-born. By 2030, the number of older people in the United States is likely to double, reaching 72 million—or nearly one out of every five people. The aging of larger numbers of Americans will require significant increases in financial and human resources for healthcare support and other social services. As a result, immigrants will continue to play a significant role in the growth of the U.S. labor force in general and of the direct-care workforce in particular. It is in the best interests of long-term care clients, providers, and workers if governments and private donors foster high-quality training and placement programs rather than leaving the future of the direct-care industry to chance. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Aug 01, 2007 | Download File