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Special Reports

Our most in-depth publication, Special Reports provide detailed analyses of special topics in U.S. immigration policy.

Rethinking the Effects of Immigration on Wages: New Data and Analysis from 1990-2004

By Giovanni Peri, Ph.D.

A crucial question in the current debate over immigration is what impact immigrants have on the wages of native-born workers. At first glance, it might seem that the simple economics of supply and demand provides the answer: immigrants increase the supply of labor; hence they should decrease the wages of native workers. However, the issue is more complicated than this for two reasons that have been largely overlooked. First, immigrants and natives tend to differ in their educational attainment, skill sets, and occupations, and they perform jobs that often are interdependent. As a result, immigrants do not compete with the majority of natives for the same jobs. Rather, they “complement” the native-born workforce—which increases the productivity, and therefore the wages, of natives. Second, the addition of new workers to the labor force stimulates investment as entrepreneurs seize the opportunity to organize these new workers in productive ways that generate profits. When these two factors are included in the analysis of immigration and wages, it becomes clear that immigration has a positive effect on the wages of most native-born workers. Read more...

Published On: Sun, Oct 01, 2006 | Download File

The Growth and Reach of Immigration: New Census Bureau Data Underscore Importance of Immigrants

New data from the 2005 American Community Survey (ACS), released by the Census Bureau on August 15, 2006, underscore the extent to which immigration continues to fuel the expansion of the U.S. labor force.

Published On: Tue, Aug 01, 2006 | Download File

Building a Competitive Workforce: Immigration and the U.S. Manufacturing Sector

Shortages of skilled labor constitute the foremost challenge confronting U.S. manufacturers who face growing competition from manufacturers in Asia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. Demand for professionals with university degrees is rising as manufacturing becomes increasingly high tech. But the U.S. educational system is not producing enough highly educated native-born manufacturing workers to meet this growing demand.

Published On: Mon, Jul 31, 2006 | Download File

Immigrant Women in the United States: A Demographic Portrait

The migration of women to the United States is characterized by two contradictory trends. On the one hand, over the past 20 years women have comprised a growing share of new legal immigrants admitted into the country, a trend which mirrors the feminization of migration in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. On the other hand, women have constituted a declining share of the U.S. foreign-born population as a whole since 1970. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Jun 12, 2006 | Download File

Unequal Access: Immigrants and U.S. Health Care

By Sarita A. Mohanty, M.D., M.P.H.

Despite the important role that immigrants play in the U.S. economy, they disproportionately lack health insurance and receive fewer health services than native-born Americans. Some policymakers have called for limits on immigrants’ access to health insurance, particularly Medicaid, which are even more stringent than those already in place. However, policies that restrict immigrants’ access to some health care services lead to the inefficient and costly use of other services (such as emergency room care) and negatively impact public health. The future economic success of the United States depends on a healthy workforce. Therefore, policies must be devised that improve, rather than restrict, immigrants’ access to quality health care. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Jun 05, 2006 | Download File

Learning from IRCA: Lessons for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

If the current political stalemate over immigration reform is any indication, many U.S. policymakers have yet to heed the lessons of recent history when it comes to formulating a realistic strategy to control undocumented immigration. In 1986, lawmakers passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in an attempt to reign in undocumented immigration through heightened worksite and border enforcement, combined with legalization of most undocumented immigrants already in the country. Read more...

Published On: Wed, May 03, 2006 | Download File

Border Insecurity: U.S. Border-Enforcement Policies and National Security

The U.S. government's efforts to stem undocumented immigration by fortifying the U.S.-Mexico border have increased the profitability of the people-smuggling business and fostered greater sophistication in the smuggling networks through which a foreign terrorist might enter the country. U.S. national security would be better served if undocumented labor migration were taken out of the border-security equation by reforming the U.S. immigration system to accommodate U.S. labor demand.

Published On: Mon, Apr 10, 2006 | Download File

Immigration Scare-Tactics: Exaggerated Estimates of New Immigration Under S.2611

The debate over S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, has been clouded by grossly exaggerated estimates of the likely scale of future immigration under the bill.

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Published On: Sat, Apr 01, 2006 | Download File

Immigrants, Skills, and Wages: Measuring the Economic Gains from Immigration

Foreign-born workers do not substitute perfectly for, and therefore do not compete with, most native-born workers. Rather, the complementary nature of the skills, occupations, and abilities of foreign-born workers increases the productivity of natives, stimulates investment, and enhances the choices available to consumers.

Published On: Mon, Mar 13, 2006 | Download File