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Economics of Immigration

Economic Benefits of Granting Deferred Action to Unauthorized Immigrants Brought to U.S. as Youth

There are an estimated 1.4 million children and young adults in the United States who might benefit from President Obama’s announcement that the Department of Homeland Security would begin granting deferred action (and Employment Authorization Documents) to unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors. For many of these young people, the United States is the only home they know and English is their first language. Each year, tens of thousands of them graduate from primary or secondary school, often at the top of their classes. They have the potential to be future doctors, nurses, teachers, and entrepreneurs, but their lack of legal status has prevented them from attending college or working legally. The President’s deferred action initiative will provide an opportunity for them to live up to their full potential and, in the process, make greater contributions to the U.S. economy. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 | Download File

Bad for Business: How Anti-Immigration Legislation Drains Budgets and Damages States’ Economies

Updated 06/04/12 - This session, state legislatures are once again considering harsh immigration-control laws. These laws are intended to make everyday life so difficult for unauthorized immigrants that they will choose to “self-deport” and return to their home countries. Proponents of these laws claim that the departure of unauthorized immigrants will save states millions of dollars and create jobs for U.S citizens. However, experience from states that have passed similar anti-immigration measures shows that the opposite can occur: the impact of the laws can hinder prospects for economic growth, and the costs of implementing, defending, and enforcing these laws can force taxpayers to pay millions of dollars. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Mar 26, 2012 | Download File

The Politics of Skill: Rethinking the Value of "Low-Skilled" Immigrant Workers

By Natasha Iskander and Nichola Lowe

The political discourse surrounding the incorporation of immigrants into the U.S. labor market tends to sort immigrant workers into two broad and mutually exclusive categories: high-skilled workers who are valued by many for their contribution to economic growth, and low-skilled workers who are viewed by some as causing a glut in the U.S. labor market and thereby displacing low and middle-income native-born workers. For the most part, these categories are structured around formal education. Workers possessing a level of formal education equal or superior to the median in the United States are on one side of this divide, while workers with less formal education than that threshold are on the other. Most current proposals favor expanding immigration opportunities for those immigrants with high levels of formal education.Read more...

Published On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 | Download File

Pew Analysis Highlights Immigrant Integration and Economic Contributions

Immigrants integrate into U.S. society over time and they contribute to the U.S. economy. These crucial yet often-overlooked facts are illustrated well by the Pew Hispanic Center’s latest statistical profile of the foreign-born population. According to Pew’s analysis of Census data, most immigrants have been here for more than a decade, and the longer they have been here, the more likely they are to have become homeowners and learned English. Moreover, growing numbers of immigrants are becoming U.S. citizens, which translates into growing political clout. The Pew data also show the degree to which immigrants fuel labor-force growth and fill valuable roles in the economy as workers in both high-skilled and less-skilled occupations. In short, immigrants are integral to the nation’s social and economic fabric. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Mar 07, 2012 | Download File

Bad for Business: How Mississippi’s Proposed Anti-Immigration Laws Will Stifle the State Economy

While proponents of harsh immigration bills in Mississippi claim that passing these laws would save the state money, experience from other states shows these immigration laws will actually cost the state millions of dollars. Implementing the laws and defending them in the courts would cost Mississippi’s taxpayers millions they can ill afford. The laws would make it more difficult for businesses to operate in the state and would deter investment. The loss of taxpayers and consumers would devastate Mississippi’s economy.  Read more...

Published On: Thu, Feb 02, 2012 | Download File

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy

By Marcia Hohn, Ed.D.
Director, Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

There is widespread agreement across a number of key economic planning groups that immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs and strengthen the economy. Yet, the U.S. immigration system often forces out immigrant entrepreneurs, driving them to other countries that are competing for international talent. Although many people recognize the giants of immigrant entrepreneurship, such as Sergey Brin of Google and Pierre Omidyar of eBay, thousands of other science and technology businesses are quietly making a difference by creating almost half a million jobs for Americans and generating revenue of more than $50 billion. The depth and breadth of immigrant entrepreneurs extend across the spectrum of enterprises, including neighborhood, growth, and transnational businesses. Expansion of employment-based visas would allow companies’ access to high-potential foreign individuals who are graduates of U.S. universities. Businesses, cities, and states across the country should support changes in visa policy and work to develop partnerships with immigrant entrepreneurs to create jobs and strengthen the economy.

The report features profiles of immigrant entrepreneurs and shines a light on some of the difficulties they face. Current immigration laws make it difficult for many immigrant entrepreneurs to contribute to the nation’s growth. The report contains administrative and legislative proposals that taken together could create an atmosphere that fosters growth.Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jan 25, 2012 | Download File

Value Added: Immigrants Create Jobs and Businesses, Boost Wages of Native-Born Workers

(Updated January 2012) - Immigrants are not the cause of unemployment in the United States. Empirical research has demonstrated repeatedly that there is no correlation between immigration and unemployment. In fact, immigrants—including the unauthorized—create jobs through their purchasing power and their entrepreneurship, buying goods and services from U.S. businesses and creating their own businesses, both of which sustain U.S. jobs. The presence of new immigrant workers and consumers in an area also spurs the expansion of businesses, which creates new jobs. In addition, immigrants and native-born workers are usually not competing in the same job markets because they tend to have different levels of education, work in different occupations, specialize in different tasks, and live in different places. Because they complement each other in the labor market rather than compete, immigrants increase the productivity—and the wages—of native-born workers. In the words of economist Giovanni Peri, “immigrants expand the U.S. economy’s productive capacity, stimulate investment, and promote specialization that in the long run boosts productivity,” and “there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States.” Read more...

Published On: Fri, Jan 13, 2012 | Download File

Our American Immigrant Entrepreneurs: The Women

By Susan Pearce, Elizabeth Clifford and Reena Tandon

When Americans picture an immigrant entrepreneur, they likely imagine a man who began the migration of his family, later bringing his wife over to become a volunteer assistant in the shop. This image is straying farther and farther from reality as more women open their own enterprises. Yet the idea that immigrant women might be the owners and originators of some of our restaurants, motels, Silicon Valley hi-tech firms, local real-estate agencies, or other entrepreneurial ventures has yet to become conventional wisdom.

Today, immigrant women entrepreneurs abound in every region of the United States. In 2010 for example, 40 percent of all immigrant business owners were women (1,451,091 immigrant men and 980,575 immigrant women). That same year, 20 percent of all women business owners were foreign-born. These numbers indicate that there is a quiet revolution of immigrant women’s business ownership that is organically growing, but is going relatively unnoticed in the culture at large.

In this report, we asked women from a range of business sectors in several cities to tell us why and how they started their ventures, what challenges they faced, what their businesses mean to them, and what contributions they are making.­

Published On: Thu, Dec 08, 2011 | Download File

Bad for Business: How Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Law Stifles State Economy

Although key provisions of Alabama’s HB 56 are on hold while its constitutionality is being tested in the courts, evidence is mounting of the growing fiscal and economic impact of the new law. State economic experts and business leaders agree that the law has already caused hardship for Alabama’s businesses and citizens.
Read more...

Published On: Wed, Nov 09, 2011 | Download File