In contrast to what the anti-immigrants are saying in rhetoric, a new report for the Migration Policy Institute concludes that the economic role of low-skilled immigrants produces positive economic benefit to the U.S.
The report, "Immigration Policy and Less-Skilled Workers in the United States: Reflections on Future Directions for Reform", created by Georgetown Public Policy Institute Professor Harry Holzer (a former chief economist for the Department of Labor) finds that the benefits of low-skilled immigration accrue primarily to employers (who benefit from paying lower wages), and to both higher- and lower-income consumers, who purchase the goods and services less-skilled immigrants produce. The costs are borne by low-skilled native and earlier-arrived immigrant workers who must compete with these immigrants for jobs generally appear to be quite modest. There are also fiscal costs and benefits to federal, state and local governments but these generally turn more positive over the long run and across generations.
According to the report, immigrants’ negative impacts on U.S. workers are muted by a range of factors, including that low-skilled immigrant workers are themselves consumers of U.S. goods and services (and thus job creators)and the fact that employers adjust their production techniques to make use of the greater supply of less-skilled labor available.
Holzer, a lead economist, argues that providing a pathway to legal status and citizenship for the low-skilled workers already here will provide economic benefits to the U.S. He also proposes to create temporary visas for low-skilled workers (temporary workers or guest worker visas that is missing from our immigration laws), and ensuring flexibility in the numbers admitted to comply with economic supply and demand in the market.
We have been saying all these things for a very long time against the anti-immigrationists -- and are glad that finally we have the hard research to back it up. Not that it would stop the antis from their rhetoric.