WSJ Projects Potential Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform

It bodes well for the future of immigration reform that the Wall Street Journal is talking up the potential profits to be made, both for individual investors and the economy as a whole, if and when immigration reform finally becomes law. (One hopes this is really just a question of when.)

In a recent MarketWatch column, the Journal outlined what it called “a bevy of benefits for investors” that immigration reform would bring in its wake, across many sectors of the economy. [See How to Trade Immigration Reform, by Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch, Wall Street Journal, 11.Feb.2013.] Specifically, the WSJ argues, “When hungry tech companies get more talent; when wages rise for hotel and restaurant workers; and when previously undocumented laborers start paying taxes, companies are going to be more competitive and the U.S. economy will expand.”

Citing recent market intelligence, the WSJ points to several major high tech companies – hardware and software developers alike – that stand to gain from a more generous allocation of STEM visas, a result most expect to emerge as a major structural reform. It also predicts a boost for companies that produce secure biometric identification, given the likelihood of tighter controls on state-issued ID, and the possible introduction of national identity card.

High tech and high skilled workers are far from the only potential beneficiaries, according to the Wall Street Journal article. One expert suggested that immigration reform could be the rising tide that lifts all boats, as formerly undocumented workers gain higher wages and pump more cash into the economy.

If the prospect of broad-based economic growth is not enough to nail down Congressional support for immigration reform, plenty of cautionary tales warn of the costs of inaction. [See Other Countries Court Skilled Immigrants Frustrated by U.S. Visa Laws, by Kevin Sullivan, Washington Post, 18.Feb.2013.] On balance, this really shouldn’t be a hard decision.

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