Comprehensive New Study Confirms Immigrants Boost U.S. Economy

While numerous studies have been conducted that verify the overall positive economic impact that immigrants have on the economy, more than 46 percent of Americans still harbor doubts as to how immigrants can improve their community. Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, those who are opposed to immigration reform feel that immigration decreases wages and reduces the number of jobs available to native-born workers. Hopefully, a new report based on one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted on the subject of immigration will convince skeptics that the benefits offered by immigrants are irrefutable.

In September, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a coalition of nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on global issues, released a new report entitled, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration. The report is an addendum to a study released in 1997, and focuses on the fiscal effects that the nation’s 42 million immigrants have on the local, state, and federal levels. While the benefits of immigration vary throughout the nation, the overall consensus of the report is that “[i]mmigration enlarges the economy while leaving the native population slightly better off on average … the prospects for long run economic growth in the United States would be considerably dimmed without the contributions of high-skilled immigrants.” [See Immigration Does More Good Than Harm To The Economy, Study Finds, by Jeffrey Sparshott, Wall Street Journal, 22.Sep.2016.]

How did the report arrive at such a categorical conclusion? By focusing on the education level of the immigrants who come to the United States. Roughly 53 percent of immigrants have at least some college experience, which is a rate higher than that of native-born Americans. The salary negotiating power that comes with an advanced education, as well as the tendency for immigrants with college experience to start their own businesses, was shown by the study to actually drive up wages and create jobs for skilled workers who are immigrants and native-born citizens alike. [See How Immigration Helps The U.S. Economy: Report, by Rowena Lindsay, Christian Science Monitor, 24.Sep.2016.]

While the facts presented in The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration undoubtedly demonstrate that comprehensive immigration reform will benefit our economy, nearly half of all Americans still harbor inaccurate fears and misconceptions about immigrants in their communities. In order for immigrants to strengthen our nation with their drive, skill, and ingenuity, we need to change our nation’s attitude, or risk the wellbeing of future generations.


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