How Might Restricting Immigration Affect Social Security's Finances,
Urban Institute, December 2017, 11 pp.
Authors: Damir Cosic &
Richard W. Johnson
Most economists agree that immigration boosts productivity, raises the Gross Domestic Product
(GDP), and prevents labor shortages. In 2016, one in six workers in the United States was an immigrant. These immigrant workers
finance a major share of Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) payroll taxes that fund Social Security. The
restrictionist Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act proposed in 2017 would halve the number of
green cards granted yearly and change the criteria for awarding them, moving from a largely family-based system to an employment-based
one. The bill aims to raise wages for American workers and promote economic growth. In How Might Restricting Immigration
Affect Social Security's Finances
, the Urban Institute analyzes the proposed bill and concludes that the RAISE Act would
shrink the number of workers by two million workers by 2030 and 8 million by 2070. As a result, it would weaken Social Security
finances by reducing OASDI payroll tax revenues. Over a 75-year period, the RAISE Act would increase Social Security's unfunded
obligations from $11.6 trillion to $13.1 trillion. Additional analysis finds that restricting immigration would reduce GDP
and have only marginal impact on American wages (no more than 0.16 to 0.23 percent). The authors warn that policymakers should
reconsider supporting legislation such as the RAISE Act as it would exacerbate Social Security's financial problems and do
little to improve the wages of the U.S.-born. (Samah Rizvi for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Power of the Purse: How Sub-Saharan Africans Contribute to the U.S. Economy,
New American Economy, January, 2018, 21 pp.
This brief provides timely information on the economic
contributions of sub-Saharan African Immigrants, a group that has been given relatively little attention in immigration research.
A major theme is that African immigrants are making contributions larger than their numbers would suggest. The authors calculate
that, in 2015, African immigrants had approximately $40.3 billion in spending power and paid $14.8 billion in federal, state,
and local taxes. African immigrants tend to be in their prime working age and have a much higher labor force participation
rate than U.S. natives (75 percent vs. 63 percent). Almost three in ten work in the healthcare and social services sectors.
African immigrants compare favorably to natives in educational attainment, with 40 percent having a bachelor's degree or higher
(compared to 31 percent for natives) and 16 percent having a graduate degree (compared to 11 percent for natives). This paper
makes the point that, in part, higher levels of educational attainment can be expected due to the large share of African immigrants
who come through the diversity visa lottery program, which requires applicants to have a minimum of a high-school education
or two years of work experience in a field that requires a minimum of two years of training. The paper also notes that 70
percent of Africans arrive with full fluency in English. Texas is the state with the largest population of African immigrants,
followed by New York, Maryland, and California. More than a third of the African immigrants in the U.S. live in these four
states. The Metropolitan area with the largest population of African immigrants is Washington, DC, with more than 190,000.
The paper is sprinkled with stories of individual African entrepreneurs (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
America's Demographic Challenge: Understanding the Role of Immigration,
Bipartisan Policy Center, August 2017, 25 pp.
Authors: Kenneth Megan &
Theresa Cardinal Brown
With numerous charts and graphs, this paper outlines the projected growth of various
age segments of the U.S. population, showing that the native-born, working-age population will grow much more slowly than
the foreign-born working-age population. The relative growth of the 65-and-over population will present economic challenges.
In particular, the Social Security trust fund is projected to be depleted by 2034, assuming that current levels of immigration
remain relatively constant. Policy changes will ultimately be needed to save the fund from depletion, including expanding
the labor force by increasing immigration. In an aging population, there is a decline in workforce participation, which depresses
economic growth. The arrival of working-age immigrants can counter, to some extent, the slowdown in economic activity as older
workers retire. The relative demographic structure of immigrants vs. natives-with immigrants being more likely to be of working-age
and to participate in the workforce-also impacts the federal budget. Modeling of a 2013 immigration reform bill found that
the bill's legalization program and increase in legal immigration would reduce the federal deficit by $180 billion over 10
years. In general, though, current levels of immigration cannot entirely offset the economic and fiscal drag of our aging
population. Liberalizing immigration will help, but other policy changes will be needed to reduce the federal deficit and
stave off Social Security insolvency. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
Population diversity as a crucial source of long-term prosperity in the US,
VOX, Centre for Economic Policy Research, November 10, 2017
Rodriguez-Pose & Viola von Berlespsch
Despite the fear and misunderstanding surrounding the issue of immigration,
little research has explored the long-term economic impact of immigration--especially in places that have historically experienced
high immigration levels. "Population diversity as a crucial source for long-term prosperity in the U.S." examines
whether a more diverse population encourages or hinders economic growth compared to a more homogeneous population. Relying
on birthplace data at the county level, the study analyzes U.S. Census population samples in 1880, 1900 and 1910 to determine
the number of groups of different origin ("fractionalism") and compares the data against their 2010 equivalent among
the 48 continental states. The results suggest that counties with large numbers of immigrant groups of different origin who
are able to communicate with one another (low "polarization") had short- and long-term economic gains at a markedly
higher level than counties that experienced low immigration levels. The study asserts that counties with higher levels of
immigration were able to benefit from the perspectives and skill-sets of migrants, which brought about greater economic growth.
The authors warn that wealthy countries that limit migration to protect cultural homogeneity will forego these immediate and
long-term economic benefits from greater diversity. However, dialogue and integration are necessary to realize these benefits.
(Jonathan Eizyk for the Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute
Immigrant Founders of the 2017 Fortune 500,
Center for American Entrepreneurship, December 2017, unpaginated
Since 1955, Fortune Magazine
has annually ranked the top 500 publically listed and private companies in the U.S. by revenue. In 2011, 40 percent of the
"Fortune 500" companies had at least one founder who was a first generation immigrant or child of an immigrant.
By 2017, according to this study from the Center for American Entrepreneurship, the number of firms founded or co-founded
by first or second generation immigrants had increased to 43 percent. The analysis also found that 52 percent of the top 25
firms and 57 percent of the top 35 firms were founded or co-founded by first or second-generation immigrants. Interactive
infographics provide details about the Fortune 500 companies including headquarter locations, comparisons of U.S. born to
immigrant founded or cofounded companies by industry, and brief profiles of well-known immigrant entrepreneurs. The authors
suggest that policymakers should consider the job-creating potential of immigrant entrepreneurs in crafting immigration policies
for the 21st
century. (Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, September 2017, 16 pp.
Midwestern cities have long relied on immigrants to energize local economies and grow their
populations. In a report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Rob Paral links the economic history and prospects of
these cities to immigration policies enacted from the 1920s to 1990s. Using Census data and existing research, the analysis
points to restrictive immigration policies as a restraint on population growth and economic vitality in 13 large Midwestern
cities, including St. Louis, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. In the early 1900s, 11 to 35 percent of residents in Midwestern cities
were foreign-born, but the foreign-born population dropped precipitously by 1970. From 1950 to 1970 -- after laws aimed at
limiting immigration, such as the Immigration Act of 1924, were enacted -- the cities in this analysis experienced an average
general population decline of 7.5 percent (A steeper population decline was averted in part due to the Great Migration northward
of African-Americans from the South). Fortunately, Congress passed legislation from 1965 to 1990 that allowed more than three
times as many immigrants per year to enter into the country. While some Midwestern cities are still in decline, other cities’
populations have stabilized largely because of the arrival of new foreign-born residents. For example, from 1970 to 2015,
the foreign-born population in Chicago grew by 53 percent, in Minneapolis by 196 percent, and in Kansas City by 249 percent.
Immigration has thus proven crucial to the economic survival and prosperity of the American Midwest (Yuki Wiland for The
Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute).
Michigan: We Are All Migrants Here, Immigrant Engine of Economic Growth Threatened by Trump Administration
Michigan Economic Center & Global Detroit, 2017, 19 pp.
Authors: John Austin, Akaash Kolluri, Steve Tobocman
This report is a clarion call from two Michigan economic development organizations to recognize and support the
significant contributions that immigrants are making to the revival of the Michigan economy. The authors are concerned that
the gains that the state has made in creating an immigrant-friendly environment are being undermined by policies of the Trump
Administration. Although immigrants constitute only 6 percent of the state's population, they punch above their weight on
many indices of economic activity, including being 25 percent of the state's high-tech start-ups and running firms that employ
over 150,000 other people. Immigrants have also brought an infusion of talent and labor to offset the decline in the native-born
population over the last 15 years. The authors summarize the many initiatives the state has taken with the support of state,
municipal, and industry leaders to promote the state as an immigrant-friendly destination, including the creation of the Michigan
Office of New Americans by Republican Governor Rick Snyder. However, policies of the Trump Administration, such as the scaling
back of H-1B visas, the travel ban affecting predominantly Muslim countries, and reductions in refugee admissions, threaten
to reverse these gains.
Immigrant Health-Care Workers in the United States
Migration Policy Institute, June 28, 2017, 10 pp.
Authors: Szilvia Altorjal & Jeanne Batalova
Despite making up only 13 percent of the total U.S. population, immigrants represent a vital portion of the
growing health-care industry comprising 17 percent, or 2.1 million, of the 12.4 million medical professionals in the United
States. This report uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics
to provide a demographic and socioeconomic overview of immigrants working in health-care occupations with particular attention
to their proficiency in English, educational background, nationality, gender, and access to health insurance. The paper finds
that three-quarters of immigrants in the field display a high level of English proficiency. Moreover, foreign-born medical
professionals are more likely to possess a bachelor's degree compared to the U.S.-born in the same field. There are also a
disproportionately high number of foreign-born medical professionals in both high- and low-skilled positions: 28 percent of
physicians and surgeons and 24 percent of nurses and home health aides are foreign-born. The report suggests that there is
a growing need for foreign-born professionals in the health-care workforce, which is projected to add 2.3 million jobs between
2014 and 2024. However, numerous obstacles exist for foreign-born doctors and others to obtain permanent resident status,
as the U.S. immigration system does not prioritize the admission of immigrant health-care professionals. (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
The Economic and Social Outcomes of Refugees in the United States: Evidence from the ACS,
National Bureau of Economic Research, June 2017
Authors: William N. Evans & Daniel Fitzgerald (Free
access to full study limited to journalists and government employees)
Using an innovative technique to create
"the largest sample of refugees analyzed to date" (ca. 20,000 refugees resettled in the United States between 1990
and 2014), this report attempts to determine the long-term fiscal and other impacts of refugee resettlement. The results suggest
that, for the first eight years in the U.S., refugees receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes. After the eighth year,
however, taxes paid tend to be greater than benefits received. Over a 20-year period, refugees entering between the
ages of 18 and 45 pay on average $21,000 more in taxes to all levels of government than they receive in benefits, although
they have not attained the earnings level of native-born Americans. The study also looks at educational outcomes for
refugee children. Those who enter the U.S. before age 14 graduate high school and enter college at the same rate as native-born
young people. Refugees who enter as older teenagers have lower educational attainment, probably because of difficulties with
English language acquisition and the fact that many entered as unaccompanied minors. The authors contend that their findings
call into question the argument of some commentators that the refugee program is too expensive because of its up-front costs.
From Struggle to Resilience: The Economic Impact of Refugees in America,
New American Economy, June, 2017, 32 pp.
Refugees living in the
United States show a strong upward economic trajectory over time and make significant contributions to their new communities.
This report uses data from the 2015 American Community Survey to examine 2.3 million likely refugees based on year of arrival
in the U.S. and country of origin. The report finds that, although refugees in the U.S. for five years or less have a median
household income of $22,000, that figure more than triples in subsequent decades, exceeding the median income of U.S. households
overall. In addition, while only nine percent of the U.S.-born population and 11.5 percent of the non-refugee immigrant population
were self-employed in 2015, 13 percent of refugees were entrepreneurs. Refugees are also willing to put down roots in the
U.S., with 84 percent of refugees who have been in the U.S. for 16 to 25 years becoming citizens compared to half of the overall
foreign-born population in the country for that length of time. As refugees are demonstrating a willingness to make long-term
investments in the U.S., the authors recommend that more work be done to track and publicize the successes of the refugee
population, in part to justify the short-term assistance provided to refugees during the resettlement process. (Sarah
Purdy for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Foreign-born STEM Workers in the United States,
American Immigration Council, June 14, 2017, 20 pp.
Foreign-born workers in the United States
represent a growing share of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce in all occupational categories.
This fact sheet from the American Immigration Council analyzes data from the American Community Survey to give an overview
of the occupational, gender, educational and geographic distribution of foreign-born STEM workers in the United States. It
offers a side-by-side comparison of two sets of STEM occupations based on two different STEM definitions. The total number
of STEM workers in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 1990, with one-fifth to one-quarter of the STEM workforce being foreign-born
in 2015. Foreign-born STEM workers have made significant contributions to innovation and productivity, e.g. 25 percent of
high-tech companies founded between 1995 and 2005 had at least one immigrant founder. The foreign-born also dominate among
those with advanced degrees -- immigrants make up the majority of STEM workers with doctoral degrees. With STEM occupations
projected to grow 13 percent to more than nine million between 2012 and 2022, the U.S. will need about one million more STEM
professionals than it will produce over the next decade. The authors suggest that, though increasing U.S.-born STEM workers
is essential, foreign-born STEM workers, who tend to be slightly younger than the overall STEM workforce, may still be required
in the U.S. to meet future labor needs. (Sarah Purdy for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
New Brain Gain: Rising Human Capital among Recent Immigrants to the United States
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2017, 16 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova & Michael Fix
sheet reports that recent immigrants in the United States are more educated than in the past. Data from the American Community
Survey and U.S. Census Bureau show that from 1986 to 1990, 27 percent of new arrivals had a college degree. Between 2011 and
2015, 48 percent of recent immigrants were college graduates. In 26 states, recent immigrants were more likely to be college
educated than those born in the U.S. The authors suggest this shift, along with an increase in English proficiency and bilingualism
among new arrivals, may be due to increased immigration from Asia. Currently, half of the college-educated immigrants in the
U.S. come from Asia. Educational attainment is rising among other immigrant groups as well; nearly one-quarter of recent immigrants
from Latin America have college degrees. The authors also note the increased educational attainment and English education
around the world and the rise of English as a global lingua franca. In 2015, the largest share of highly skilled immigrants
came from India, followed by China/Hong Kong, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea. The findings suggest some important
policy measures, including addressing skill underutilization among college-educated immigrants (the so-called "brain
waste" problem), avoiding immigration policies and rhetoric that deter highly skilled newcomers, and making temporary
visas available for certain skilled immigrants. (The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Immigration a Demographic Lifeline in Midwestern Metros,
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, March, 2017, 14 pp.
Author: Rob Paral
paper, updating a 2014 report published by the Chicago Council, examines changing demographics in 46 metro areas in 12 Midwest
states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
In these metro areas, population growth between 2000 and 2017 has been approximately half the national average. Immigration
has played a crucial role in the continued growth of these areas-in some cases reversing actual declines in the native-born
population. Immigration has been especially important in adding to the prime working age cohorts as the large aging baby-boom
population moves into retirement. With charts that include all 46 metro areas, the author demonstrates that immigrants are
supporting the continued vitality of Midwest metro areas and are playing "a critical role in offsetting regional workforce
gaps created by an aging native-born population." With outright population decline occurring in parts of the Midwest,
immigration is a demographic lifeline, stemming the loss of consumers and workers that Midwest businesses need to survive
and thrive. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
Mass Deportations would Impoverish US Families and Create Immense Social Costs,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, Center for Migration Studies, 5:1 (2017), 8 pp.
Authors: Robert Warren
& Donald Kerwin
This paper assesses the impact of large-scale deportations on mixed-status families, i.e.
families comprised of both documented and undocumented members. In 2014, there were 6.6 million US-born citizens sharing
3 million households with undocumented residents (usually parents). Of these U.S.-born citizens, 5.7 million were children
under the age of 18. Removing undocumented family members would reduce median household income by 47 percent (from $41,300
to $22,000). If just one-third of these children remained in the United States, the cost of raising these children through
their minority would total $118 billion. Gross domestic product would be reduced by 1.4 percent in the first year, and by
$4.7 trillion over 10 years. In addition, the housing market would suffer a serious blow, as many households would default
on home mortgage loans.
To Stay or Not To Stay: The Calculus for International STEM Students in the United States
Migration Policy Institute, January 4, 2017, 6 pp.
Author: Luka Klimaviciute
As the global competition
for graduates in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) increases, international students in the
United States must decide to leave or remain in the U.S. after graduation. The report To Stay or Not To Stay
the Migration Policy Institute gives an overview of the international STEM student population in the U.S. and examines the
domestic need for graduates in these fields. Census and Department of Homeland Security data reveal that 41.6 percent of the
more than one million international students in the U.S. during the 2015-2016 school year were enrolled in STEM fields. Two-thirds
of international STEM students choose to stay in the U.S. after graduation, but the decision is dependent on a variety of
factors including financial resources, job security, family pressures, occupational specialization, and the willingness to
undertake the arduous process of obtaining a permanent resident visa. Also, countries such as China and New Zealand
are competing for these students and providing easier paths to permanent residence to help fill labor shortages in high-skill
jobs. Accordingly, the authors consider whether the U.S. should incentivize more international STEM graduates to remain in
the country. There is contradictory evidence as to the need for foreign-born STEM workers, but an 11.8 percent increase in
patent grants for every 10 percent increase in international STEM workers suggests that they help to accelerate innovation
in the economy. There are also projected labor shortages in specific STEM fields that will persist until more specialists
are either trained in the U.S. or brought in internationally. The authors suggest that recognizing highly skilled immigrants
as catalysts for economic growth could help advance policy changes for the benefit of U.S. employers and international students.
(Sarah Purdy, for the ILC Public Education Institute)
The Economic Contribution of Unauthorized Workers: An Industry Analysis
National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper, November, 2016
Authors: Ryan Edwards & Francesc Ortega
study attempts to measure the contributions of unauthorized workers in various sectors of the United States economy with a
goal of understanding the impact of removing those workers from the labor force (e.g., by mass deportation). Using census
information and statistical analysis, the authors examine worker productivity across a variety of dimensions with a specific
focus on outcomes for native born, authorized foreign born, and unauthorized foreign-born workers. The study attends
to demographic variety within the workforce (e.g., individuals' levels of education) and across sectors of the economy (e.g.,
what percentage of workers within a particular industry are unauthorized). For example, 18 percent of workers within agriculture
are unauthorized, compared to 10 percent within leisure and hospitality. The authors calculate that overall, undocumented
workers account for 3 percent of the GDP of the US, with key differences seen across sectors and states. Based on the authors'
analysis, legalization of unauthorized workers would increase their share of the GDP to 3.6 percent. They also cite
studies that suggest the workers themselves could see their earnings increase between 10 - 25 percent if their status changed.
With regards to their main research question, the authors conclude that removing unauthorized workers from the workforce would
cost certain sectors in both the short and the long term. For example, the leisure and hospitality sector could expect to
lose $30-40 billion in the short term. The authors suggest that such potential loses should be considered before implementing
a mass deportation strategy. (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University)
Immigrants Play a Disproportionate Role in American Entrepreneurship
Harvard Business Review, October 3, 2016, 8 pp.
Authors: Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr
new data platform may dramatically increase the amount of information available about immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Dr. Sari Pekkala Kerr of the Wellesley Centers for Women and Dr. William R. Kerr of Harvard Business School are utilizing
the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics database for a more comprehensive statistical understanding of immigrant entrepreneurship
in the United States. Currently covering 31 states, the database stores information from restricted-access Census Bureau datasets
from 1995-2008. Their preliminary research provides insight into growth and closure trends as well as the survival rates of
immigrant-founded startups, from neighborhood businesses to burgeoning firms backed by venture capital financing. While immigrant-founded
firms close faster than their native-founded counterparts, the ones that survive experience faster growth rates. This "up
or out" phenomenon is characteristic of immigrant-founded firms and may influence where immigrant entrepreneurs choose
to settle. New information regarding immigrant-founded firms including investment, performance and general behavior may lay
the groundwork for a more nuanced understanding of immigrant entrepreneurship. The authors expect that these initial
findings will serve as a catalyst for further studies of immigrant entrepreneurship and will help inform public policy concerning
immigration. (Sarah Purdy for the Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Why are Immigrants More Entrepreneurial,
Harvard Business Review, October 27, 2016, 7 pp.
Authors: Peter Vandor & Nikolaus Franke
In this article, the authors report on the results of their study
recently published in the Journal of Business Venturing
. They begin by noting that immigrants in the U.S. are nearly
twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as the native born, and that this proclivity towards entrepreneurship also holds outside
the U.S. Prior research has suggested that one factor at work may be a greater tendency for entrepreneurial individuals to
migrate. In addition, labor market barrier and discrimination may compel immigrants to go into business on their own. The
authors looked at another angle: cross-cultural experiences may enable immigrants to identify promising business ideas. The
authors performed two experiments on groups of students and found that those with cross-cultural experiences received better
marks for their business ideas from a panel of venture capitalists and industry experts. The implication for business is to
encourage cross-cultural experiences, and to recognize and nurture the business ideas of those in the company who have these
cross-cultural experiences. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
Reason for Reform: Entrepreneurship
New American Economy, October, 2016, 21 pp.
What role do immigrants play as entrepreneurs in the U.S. economy?
An "outsized" one, according to this report from New American Economy, based on data from the American Community
Survey, the Survey of Small Business Owners and other sources. The authors describe immigrants as "a critical piece
of the U.S. entrepreneurship landscape" -- almost twice as likely as the native-born population in 2015 to start a business.
Businesses owned by immigrants (excluding publicly-owned firms) employed more than 5.9 million workers in 2007, the last year
for which figures are available. The report gives the number of immigrant entrepreneurs in each state and the amount of business
income they produce for the top 25 states. The report also updates an earlier 2011 NAE study by looking at immigrant founders
of Fortune 500 companies in 2016. The "massive role" played by first and second generation immigrants remained essentially
unchanged over the 5-year period. In 2016, 40.1 percent of these firms, or 201 companies in total, had at least one founder
who was either a first or second-generation immigrant. These firms employed almost 19 million people. The report gives
the number of such firms in each state, along with the number of people employed by these firms in 2016. The authors conclude
with an explanation of the frustrations faced by would-be immigrant entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses in the U.S.
and urge the passage of legislation that would create a startup visa program for entrepreneurs conditional on their raising
sufficient start-up capital.The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration,
Panel on the Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,
September, 2016, 508 pp.
Editors: Francine D. Blau & Christopher Mackle
In an effort to understand
the economic and fiscal impacts of immigration on the United States, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
convened a distinguished panel of 22 economists, sociologists, and demographers, chaired by Francine D. Blau, of the Department
of Economics at Cornell University. In a study process lasting three years, the panel pored over the existing scholarly literature
and secured input from experts around the United States. The actual report, more than 500 pages in length, is filled with
technical jargon that may prove intimidating to the lay reader. Repeatedly, the authors caution readers that immigration cannot
easily be isolated as a single causal factor for any economic outcome. Nonetheless, the panel tried to find areas of
consensus. One point of agreement is that high-skilled immigrants have had a significant "positive impact" on the
overall economy, stimulating innovation and helping to create jobs. Without their energy and talent, "patenting
per capita" in the U.S. would not be so high. The authors also review the literature on the "dynamic immigration
surplus," which posits that knowledge formation, spurred on by the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of immigrants,
can act as "an engine of economic growth." The authors conclude that "the prospect of long-run economic
growth in the United States would be considerably dimmed without the contributions of high-skilled immigrants." With
regard to low-skilled immigrants, many of whom help to sustain entire industries in the U.S., some adverse effects may have
been felt by immigrants who arrived earlier and teenagers who never finished high school. "While pre-existing workers
most similar to immigrants may experience lower wages or a lower employment rate, pre-existing workers who are complementary
to immigrants are likely to benefit, as are native-born owners of capital."
Some analysts have highlighted findings
in the report that are supportive of their policy orientation on immigration. Harvard economist George Borjas, for example,
a member of the panel of experts that produced the report, but a favorite of the restrictionist right, has published a User's Guide to the report that echoes his long-standing critique of immigration. Coverage, however, in both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times emphasized findings suggesting the benefits of immigration to the overall economy. The report also assesses the role
of immigration in helping to mitigate some of the anticipated fiscal effects of an aging population. The report concludes
with a number of recommendations designed to overcome the limitations of existing data sources, including adding a question
on the birthplace of parents to the American Community Survey and adding a question on parental educational attainment to
the Current Population Survey.
Who Will Care for Our Seniors? Comparing the Gap between Available Healthcare Workers and Open Healthcare
New American Economy, September, 2016, 12 pp.
There are striking healthcare labor shortages in some areas of
the country that result in limited access to crucial services for Americans. Meanwhile, the number of senior citizens is projected
to more than double by the year 2030. A large share of healthcare workers is already foreign-born and so, given their demonstrated
interest in this field, immigrants could play an important role in addressing these workforce challenges. These are the major
findings of Who Will Care for Our Seniors?
which utilizes data from the 2013 American Community Survey and a labor
market analysis firm to show that healthcare, one of the fastest growing sectors, is facing worker shortages all across the
nation particularly in rural states. For example, in North Dakota, where about 75 percent of counties are rural, there were
53.8 open jobs for every one unemployed healthcare worker (In the broader economy, the average is 1.3 open jobs for every
unemployed worker). Immigrants, who are more likely to be of working age and willing to relocate, could help alleviate gaps
like this. The authors recommend reforms that would make it easier to procure foreign healthcare workers including a visa
system that would allow cities or states to sponsor immigrant workers to fill critical vacancies in healthcare. (Jasmina
Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Culprit or Scapegoat? Immigration's Effect on Employment and Wages,
Bipartisan Policy Center, June, 206, 19 pp.
Authors: Kenneth Megan & Theresa Cardinal Brown
paper sets out to investigate the claim that a recent decrease in labor force participation by native-born Americans is the
result of immigrants taking jobs and driving down wages. Between 2000 and 2012, the labor force participation rate of the
native born dropped from 67 to 62 percent. According to the authors, this decline can be explained almost entirely by increases
in retirement, disability, and school enrollment. Next, the authors explain that a large percentage of immigrants are concentrated
in certain industries where there are fewer native-born workers. As the economy recovers from the Great Recession, the authors
point out that "foreign-born industries" (industries in which immigrants tend to be concentrated) have shown robust
growth and are experiencing labor shortages. The industries in which immigrants tend to be concentrated have lower median
pay not because immigrants drive down wages, but because they require lesser skills and have lower educational requirements.
In the absence of immigrants, it is unlikely that natives-who are more highly educated and thus can command higher pay-would
take the place of immigrants. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation
Immigrant Learning Center & Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, June, 2016, 23 pp.
Marcia D. Hohn, Justin P. Lowry, James C. Witte, José Ramón Fernández-Pena
an outsized and critical role in the U.S. health care industry, and greater integration of foreign-born and foreign-trained
health care workers is crucial to sustaining this fast-growing industry. Combining existing data and profiles of immigrants
across the health care spectrum, this report discusses the impact of the foreign-born in health care as a whole and particularly
in three subfields: medicine and medical science, long-term care, and nursing. The report finds that although immigrants comprise
only 13 percent of the general population, they constitute 22 percent of nursing, psychiatric and home health aides, 28 percent
of physicians and surgeons, and 40 percent of medical scientists in pharmaceutical manufacturing research and development.
Foreign-born health care workers are critical in meeting the demands of the current health care market, which includes shortages
of physicians in rural and inner-city areas, a need for cutting-edge medical technology and a growing senior population rapidly
diversifying in race and ethnicity. Given the necessary innovation and cultural and linguistic skills immigrants bring to
health care, as well as the aging U.S. population and other drivers of the industry, the authors recommend creating provisional
visas for home care workers, supporting the Professional Access to Health Workforce Integration Act, and investing in and
further developing workforce development programs that support and help integrate immigrant health care professionals. (Crystal
Ye for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
The Labor And Output Declines From Removing All Undocumented Immigrants
American Action Forum, May 5, 2016, 21 pp.
Authors: Ben Gitis & Jacqueline Varas
This paper examines
how major industries would be impacted if all undocumented immigrant workers were removed from the U.S. The authors use estimates
of undocumented workers in each industry developed by the Pew Research Center. They then calculate the number of lawful workers
potentially available in each industry to take the place of undocumented workers should they be removed. The authors conclude
that, overall, there would be a shortfall of, at a minimum, four million workers in the private sector should all undocumented
immigrants be removed. The resulting labor decline would result in a loss of between $381 billion and $623 billion in private
sector output, or 2.9 percent to 4.7 percent annually (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting).
Midwest Diagnosis: Immigration Reform and the Healthcare Sector,
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, March, 2016, 22pp.
Author: Nicole Fisher
supply of native-born health care professionals is not keeping pace with the rising demand for health care workers in the
Midwest, especially to serve the rapidly growing elderly population. In a report for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs,
Nicole Fisher argues that immigrants are the key to the future sustainability and vitality of this sector, but the current
immigration system makes it difficult and burdensome for foreign-trained health care professionals to work in the U.S. The
problem is especially acute in rural areas. The author recommends a number of reforms, including: issuing visas according
to labor force demands, removing quotas and caps on doctors and surgeons, and addressing credentialing challenges for foreign-born
professionals. The report also notes that shortages exist among lower-skilled, lower-paid healthcare jobs, such as home health
aides. Fisher also recommends allowing uninsured immigrants to access some forms of insurance so that the burden on hospital
emergency rooms is eased. She also urges a stepped-up effort to train healthcare professionals to provide linguistically and
culturally competent care to the increasingly diverse populations of the Midwest (Karly Foland for The Immigrant Learning
Center Public Education Institute).
Undocumented Immigrants' State & Local Tax Contributions,
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Updated February 24, 2016, 22 pp.
Authors: Lisa Christensen
Gee, Matthews Gardner, & Meg Wiehe
Undocumented immigrants in the United States pay
a significant share of their income in state and local taxes and could potentially pay more through implementation of the
Obama administration's executive actions or passage of comprehensive immigration reform. Using each state's effective tax
rate combined with state population estimates, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy 2016 report Undocumented Immigrants'
State and Local Tax Contributions provides state-by-state breakdowns of the current and potential tax contributions of the
11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The authors find that undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $11.64
billion in state and local taxes per year, or an average of 8 percent of their income compared to the average nationwide tax
rate of only 5.4 percent paid by the top one percent of taxpayers. The authors estimate that full implementation of the Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs
would increase the state and local tax contributions of undocumented immigrants by $805 million annually. Moreover, granting
legal status to all undocumented immigrants and allowing them to work legally would boost their tax contributions by $2.1
billion per year (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute).
Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups,
National Foundation for American Policy, March, 2016, 33 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
Immigrants have founded 44 of the 87 U.S. startup companies valued at 1 billion dollars or more. Moreover, according
to the National Foundation for American Policy brief Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups, at least one immigrant
fills a key management or product development position in 71 percent of the startups, particularly chief technology officer,
CEO or vice president of engineering. The immigrant-founded startups are collectively worth 168 billion dollars and have created
an average of 760 jobs each. The report features profiles of some of the leading entrepreneurs, including Noubar Afeyan of
Moderna Therapeutics (Lebanon), Elon Musk of SpaceX (South Africa), and Jyoti Bansal of AppDynamics (India). The author emphasizes
that the impressive contributions of these entrepreneurs would not have been possible with more restrictive immigration policies,
such as those being proposed by certain members of Congress. With current policies such as the low quota on H-1B temporary
visas continuing to make immigration and business difficult for potential immigrant entrepreneurs, the author recommends the
creation of a startup visa category to encourage future entrepreneurs to set up businesses in the U.S. (Crystal
Ye for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
The Economics of Step-by-Step Immigration Reform,
Bipartisan Policy Center, May, 2015, 55 pp.
Graham, Joel Prakken, Theresa Cardinal Brown, & Lazaro Zamora
The Bipartisan Policy Center report Assembling the Pieces: The Economics of Step-by-Step Immigration Reform projects
the effects of staggered immigration reform on economic growth and the federal budget by analyzing five reform scenarios.
Utilizing publicly available data, estimates by demographic characteristics and assumptions based on U.S. Census methodologies
to project changes to economic variables, the study finds that a step-by-step approach can have a positive impact on the economy,
but only if the negative effects of over-enforcement are balanced with other policies such as legalization and expanded programs
for temporary and high-skilled workers. For instance, over 20 years, an enforcement-only approach would lead to a 1.5 percent
decrease in GDP and a $110 billion increase in the federal deficit. A combination of enforcement, legalization, lesser-skilled
temporary worker programs and high-skill reform, on the other hand, would increase GDP by 0.5 percent and reduce the deficit
by $570 billion. The models run by the Bipartisan Policy Center further show only modest wage effects on existing workers
under any reform scenario and suggest that regularly adjusted rather than fixed numerical caps on immigration categories are
more likely to meet the economy's changing needs. (Jasmina Popaja for The ILC Public Education Institute)
2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity: National Trends,
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. 2015, 47 pp.
Authors: Robert W. Fairlie, Arnobio
Morelix, E.J. Reedy, & Joshua Russell
Immigrants now account for 28.5 percent of all new entrepreneurs in
the United States and are almost twice as likely than the native-born to become entrepreneurs (0.52 percent for the foreign-born
vs. 0.27 percent for the native-born). The 2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity: National Trends presents trends
in startup activity over the past two decades at the national level. The authors define and discuss the three components of
their Startup Activity Index: the Rate of New Entrepreneurs, defined as the percentage of adults becoming entrepreneurs in
a given month; the Opportunity Share of New Entrepreneurs, defined as the percentage of new entrepreneurs driven primarily
by "opportunity" vs. "necessity" (and loosely measured by the number of entrepreneurs unemployed prior
to business formation); and the Startup Density, measured as the number of startups per 100,000 people. According to
the report, startup activity rose in 2014, reversing a five-year downward trend in the United States, although the index remains
below historical trends. Driving this growth were increases in the rate of new entrepreneurs for men (0.41 percent in 2014
vs. 0.34 percent in 2013), Latinos (0.46 percent in 2014 vs. 0.38 percent in 2013) and immigrants (0.52 percent in 2014 vs.
0.43 percent in 2013). There was also a small rise in the opportunity share of new entrepreneurs across all demographic groups,
especially among men, and a modest increase in the startup density after several years of declining rates. (Chiara Magini, The ILC Public Education Institute)
Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions,
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, April 16, 2015, 20 pp.
Authors: Matthew Gardner,
Sebastian Johnson, & Meg Wiehe
New data on unauthorized immigrants as taxpayers
demonstrate how some immigration reform policies will affect tax revenue for state and local governments. Drawing data from
the Migration Policy Institute and the Pew Research Center, this report discusses the consequences of two policy reforms:
President Obama's executive action to grant work authorization and relief from deportation to almost half of the unauthorized
population, up to 5.2 million people, and the effects of implementing a path to legalization for all 11.4 million unauthorized
immigrants. The authors report that unauthorized immigrants already make impressive tax contributions: their estimated nationwide
average state and local tax rate, which is the share of total income paid in taxes, is 8 percent which is higher than the
wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers, whose effective tax rate is 5.4 percent. Paying an estimated $11.84 billion in state and
local taxes, unauthorized immigrants contribute their share mostly through payroll and income taxes, property tax and sales
tax. According to Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions, if all of the undocumented immigrants
were granted lawful permanent residence and allowed to work legally, their state and local tax contributions would increase
by more than $2.2 billion per year. The report includes tables showing current and projected state and local tax contributions
by undocumented immigrants for all 50 states. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Does Immigration Impact Institutions?
Cato Institute, May 6, 2014, 29 pp.
Authors: J.R. Clark et al
While the economic benefits of immigration are well documented, little research has focused
on the impact of immigration on the institutions of host countries. Does Immigration Impact Institutions? examines
the hypothesis that immigrants, particularly those from Third World countries, tend to undermine the consensus in support
of "economic freedom." Defining economic freedom as a combination of strong private property rights, a stable
economy, and minimal government regulation, and considering other factors such as GDP and the extent of immigrant dependence
on government benefits, the study finds that immigrants have a small but beneficial effect on economic freedom regardless
of the source country or volume of immigration. The study compares data from the Economic Freedom of World (EFW)
report against percentages of countries' immigrant populations, provided by the UN's The International Migrant Stock by
Destination and Origin. Between 1990 and 2011, the authors found no evidence that immigrants from either poor or authoritarian
countries have a negative effect on economic freedom. The report does show, however, a small increase in per capita
GDP that correlates with a higher flow of immigrants. (Priscilla Moreno for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Ideas that Innovate: State and Local Policies,
WE Global Network, n.d., 35 pp.
An increasing number of Rust Belt communities are introducing initiatives to attract immigrants and maximize their
contribution to local economic growth and prosperity. Ideas that Innovate is a compendium of state and local
public policies designed to achieve these goals. Compiled by WE Global Network (formerly Global Great Lakes Network), the
paper offers policymakers and economic development specialists an assortment of innovative ideas and models to achieve more
welcoming, inclusive and prosperous communities. Separate chapters discuss efforts to enhance the contributions of international
students, integrate highly skilled immigrants, establish resident leadership academies, introduce the seal of biliteracy,
open state-funded opportunity centers, and establish EB-5 investor visa centers. The paper provides details about each initiative,
identifies key stakeholders, and explains where it has worked and why it is important. It also provides resources for action,
additional readings and key contacts. (Chiara Magini, The ILC Public Education Institute)
The Budgetary and Economic Costs of Addressing Unauthorized Immigration: Alternative
American Action Forum, March 6, 2015, 14 pp.
Authors: Ben Gitis & Laura Collins
Unauthorized immigrants play a significant economic role in the U.S. making up 6.4 percent of the work force. The
Budgetary and Economic Cost of Addressing Unauthorized Immigration examines the impact that strict immigration law enforcement
would have on the economy. It analyzes the expense of fully enforcing current immigration law, that is, apprehending, detaining,
processing and deporting the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. as well as preventing future
migrants from unlawfully entering the country. The analysis shows that such enforcement would be costly: the U.S. government
and taxpayers would spend up to $600 billion and it would take 20 years to complete. Additionally, deportation of all undocumented
immigrants would reduce the gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.6 trillion due to of the loss of workers. According to the
report, since undocumented immigrants rarely receive governmental assistance, the deportation of 11.2 million unauthorized
immigrants would add to, not lessen, the federal budget deficit through loss of tax revenue and relatively unchanged spending.
The report concludes that deportation costs for all the undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. are burdensome to taxpayers
and harmful to the health of the overall economy. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Hispanic Immigration and US Economic Growth,
IHS Economics, February 2015, 21 pp.
The growth rate of the U.S. economy's labor force will decrease to around 0.6 percent per year from 2020 to
2034 as Baby Boomers continue to retire in large numbers. The purpose of this report is to analyze the future of the U.S.
work force, its characteristics and the effect of the Hispanic population on the labor market. The authors suggest
that the Hispanic working population, demographically younger and growing more rapidly than other groups, will partially offset
the projected dwindling of the non-Hispanic labor force. Drawing on data from IHS Economics, an economics analysis and forecasting
firm, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the authors find that only 2.2 percent of the Hispanic work force is aged 65 and
over (compared to 5.8 percent of the non-Hispanic workforce) and only 9.8 percent are in the 55 to 64 age group approaching
retirement (compared to 17.4 percent of the non-Hispanic). "The Hispanic population will play an increasingly significant
role in U.S. labor force growth" as it will account for almost half of the work force expansion over next five years,
according to the authors. This study also includes an analysis of economic and social conditions in major Latin American sending
countries and the extent to which these countries will continue to supply immigrants to revitalize the U.S. labor market.
(Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)
The Impact of Temporary Protected Status on Immigrants' Labor Market Outcomes,
The Institute for the Study of Labor, December, 2014, 21 pp.
Authors: Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline
This study seeks to measure the labor market effects of granting Temporary Protected
Status (TPS) to foreign-born residents of the U.S. There are currently about 300,000 foreigners in the U.S. with TPS,
which provides a reprieve from deportation and authorization to work in the U.S for the duration of a major crisis in their
home country. The authors see the TPS program as a possible predictor of what might happen with the deferred action programs
of the Obama Administration. As the largest group of current TPS holders are Salvadoran, and as the current grant of TPS dates
back to the Salvadoran earthquakes of 2001, the authors examine the labor market outcomes of two cohorts of Salvadorans, ones
who arrived just prior to the earthquake (eligible for TPS), and ones who arrived just after (ineligible and presumably largely
undocumented). Men eligible for TPS earn about 13 percent more than those who are not, even if their unemployment rate is
somewhat higher (presumably they now have the freedom to shop around for a better-paying job rather than being locked into
one form of employment). TPS also drives up the labor force participation rate for lesser-educated Salvadoran women by about
17 percentage points. The authors suggest that "the 2001 TPS for Salvadoran migrants is a potential indicator of how
a legalization program that is temporary and does not create a pathway to U.S. citizenship would affect beneficiaries."
How Changes in Immigration Policy Might Affect the Federal Budget,
Congressional Budget Office (CBO), January, 2015, 38 pp.
This report discusses how changes in immigration legislation might affect portions of the federal budget, including
immigrant eligibility for public benefits and the share of tax revenues derived from immigrants. The report also assesses
the budgetary effects of changing the skill and educational profile of the immigrant population, creating more temporary worker
programs, and strengthening border security. The report notes that in the future CBO will likely be required by Congress to
estimate the macroeconomic effects of immigration reform, e.g. changes in GDP and employment -- something that CBO
has traditionally not done. The report doesn't arrive at any conclusions; rather it discusses the complex array of factors
that need to be considered in determining the fiscal impact of any piece of immigration-related legislation.
Bringing Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow,
Fiscal Policy Institute & Americas Society/Council of the Americas, January, 2015, 38 pp.
David Dyssegaard Kallick
Immigrants were responsible for all of the net growth in Main
Street business nationally and in 31 of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2013. This is the main finding
of a "first-of-its-kind" report that demonstrates the high value of immigrants to local economies, particularly
as Main Street business owners, and their importance in building healthy, safe and economically viable neighborhoods. Bringing
Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow uses data from the American Community
Survey and Survey of Business Owners to determine that immigrants make up about 13 percent of the general population, 16 percent
of the labor force, 18 percent of business owners and 28 percent of Main Street business owners. On Main Street, immigrants
are overrepresented in certain types of business; for example, immigrants make up 61 percent of all gas station owners, 58
percent of dry cleaners, 53 percent of grocery store owners, and 38 percent of restaurant owners. The data also show that,
between 2000 and 2013, immigrants accounted for 48 percent of overall growth of business ownership in the U.S. Based on these
findings, the authors suggest that cities take proactive steps to welcome immigrants and to support their business ventures.
The author also conducted in-depth case studies of three metro areas - Philadelphia, Nashville and Minneapolis-St. Paul -
and examined their policies and programs aimed at helping immigrants and their businesses. To fully maximize the potential
value of immigrants and Main Street businesses, the author recommend establishing a local governmental office to provide overall
leadership, creating culturally competent business training, promoting community-based financial assistance, and ensuring
that resources and programs are available to all (Jamie Cross for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public Education
Who's Behind the Wheel? Immigrants Filling the Labor Shortage in the U.S. Trucking Industry,
Institute fort Immigration Research, George Mason University, December, 2014, 10 pp.
The second in a series of papers entitled, "Immigrants Working for US,"
this paper examines the economic contributions of immigrants in the U.S. trucking industry. In 2012, immigrants represented
13 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 15.7 percent of the total truck driver workforce. The proportion of immigrant
truck drivers was especially high in certain states such as California (46.7 percent), New Jersey (40.4 percent), Florida
(32.2 percent), and New York (25.7 percent). Using data from the American Trucking Association and the Census Bureau's American
Community Survey, the research brief Immigrants Working for US: The Trucking Industry by Zahra Sohail Khan, finds that the
trucking industry is the backbone of the U.S. economy, with 70 percent of all the freight tonnage within the country transported
via trucks. However the industry experiences chronic worker shortages due to a high turnover rate and an aging native-born
workforce. The author suggests that immigrant truck drivers can play a critical role in filling these shortages, but they
will need access to English language training to pass commercial licensing exams and an increase in the quota of H-2B visas
to allow more immigrants to fill vacancies in the industry (Chiara Magini for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public
Immigrants Working for U.S. Pharmaceuticals,
Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, August, 2014, 6 pp.
Shaun Michel & James Witte
This paper analyzes the role of immigrants in the pharmaceutical
industry and is the first in a series about the economic contributions of immigrants in key industries in the United States.
In 2011, immigrants represented 13 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 17 percent of the workforce in the pharmaceutical
industry. The role of immigrants was even more pronounced in pharmaceutical production and distribution, with 26 percent of
all positions held by the foreign-born, and in high-skilled occupations, with immigrants representing 33 percent of the research
and development workforce and more than 40 percent of the scientists. Among the key findings in the report are: the U.S. pharmaceutical
industry is considerably dependent on immigrant labor, especially in key occupations like research and development, production
and distribution; among the 10 top countries of origin for workers in the industry are many emerging pharmaceutical
markets; and the U.S. pharmaceutical industry benefits from immigration since it profits from skills and talents which would
otherwise be available to its competitors in other countries. (Chiara Magini for The Immigrant Learning
Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute)
Does Immigration Increase Economic Growth?
Manhattan Institute, December, 2014, 18 pp.
Author: Diana Furchtgott-Roth
The author reviews the evidence on whether immigration helps or harms American workers. The consensus among
economists, she reports, is that increased immigration leads to higher economic growth and that immigrants complement rather
than displace native-born workers. The publication includes tables showing the concentrations of immigrants and native-born
in various industries. The availability of immigrant labor in a particular occupation often opens up job opportunities for
native-born Americans in related occupations. The author critiques a recent report by the restrictionist Center for Immigration
Studies, which examined New Hampshire's labor market since 2000 and concluded that immigration reduced work opportunities
for native-born Americans. Among the errors and conceptual flaws in this study were: not taking into account New Hampshire
residents working in neighboring states, counting Massachusetts workers who move to New Hampshire as "immigrants,"
and confusing people who are "not employed" with "unemployed." The publication concludes by urging Congress
to undertake major reforms of our immigration system, using the 2013 Senate Immigration bill as a starting point. "A
large body of economic literature and government data, of which this paper offers a snapshot, leaves little doubt that immigration
is not the cause of the country's current economic woes - but is rather part of the cure to the faster economic growth that
the U.S. urgently needs."
New American Investors Making a Difference in the Economy,
Immigration Policy Center, September 30, 2014, 9 pp.
Immigration Investor Program managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), contributed $2.6 billion to the
GDP, supported 33,000 jobs and created $346 million in federal tax revenue between 2010 and 2011. New American Investors
Making a Difference in the Economy discusses the unique nature of EB-5 as a visa program whose purpose is to create jobs
and economic growth. Through interviews with industry experts, the report describes the evolution of EB-5 from its initial
phase as an underused program to its more recent growth and expansion to approximately 400 regional centers. In its
early years, the EB- 5 program suffered from problems that included a lax regulatory framework, low utilization and fraudulent
investment schemes. The report discusses the many factors that contributed to the resurgence of the program including the
creation of regional centers, which offered models for economic growth. Vermont, for instance, created a successful model
for a state-government-owned, -operated and -managed EB-5 program. In Pennsylvania and California, regional centers collaborated
with non-profit development agencies to fuel job creation. EB-5 has also become a more popular and reliable way to obtain
residency in the U.S. Between 2005-2012, approval percentages have increased from 53% to an average of 81% for conditional
petitioners. The report argues that the EB-5 program is a crucial tool for economic growth in the U.S. and must be managed
with proper oversight in order for its impact to be maximized. (Miguel Colon for The Immigrant Learning
Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute)
Selling Visas and Citizenship: Policy Questions from the Global Boom in Investor Immigration,
Migration Policy Institute, October, 2014, 25 pp.
Authors: Madeleine Sumption & Kate Hooper
For more than 30 years, governments around the world have offered permanent residence visas
to persons willing to make substantial investments in local economies. This report describes the wide variety of such programs,
assesses their economic impact, and discusses some of their unanticipated, and often troubling, consequences. The authors
note that there are two general types of qualifying investments: private sector and payments to governments. The former are
the only option in countries like the U.S., Singapore, and the Netherlands; the latter are found in some of the Caribbean
Islands, and in countries like the UK and Australia that offer both options. Immigrant investors often come from emerging
economies like China or countries experiencing political or economic instability. Chinese investors dominate programs in the
U.S., Canada, and Australia. Russian investors seem to favor Europe. The authors note that countries vary widely in their
residence requirements, with some countries having no or minimal residence requirements, e.g. Bulgaria and Hungary have none,
and others requiring more substantial residence periods, e.g. the U.S. requires physical presence for more than half of the
five year waiting period for citizenship. Finally, the report concludes with a discussion of steps that have been taken by
governments to ensure that investor programs are not used for money laundering purposes. The authors note that the current
situation is quite fluid, with some governments scaling back their programs due to skepticism about their economic benefit,
but others establishing programs for the first time.
Staying Covered: How Immigrants Have Prolonged the Solvency of One of Medicare's Key
Trust Funds and Subsidized Care for U.S. Seniors,
The Partnership for a New American Economy, August, 2014, 22 pp.
Immigrants not only have paid into Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust
Fund at a higher level than they've drawn from it but also have contributed significantly to its solvency so as to benefit
more Americans for a longer period of time. This is the major finding of Staying Covered: How Immigrants Have Prolonged
the Solvency of One of Medicare's Key Trust Funds and Subsidized Care for U.S. Seniors. The report analyzes 1996 to 2011
data from the Current Population Survey and the Medicare Expenditure Panel Survey to show the impact immigrants have had on
Medicare's HI Trust Fund, which covers hospital and home health care for 50 million senior and disabled Americans. This Fund
is of particular importance given America's fast-aging population. The findings show that from 1996 to 2011, immigrants contributed
$182.4 billion more to the Fund than was expended on their behalf while the U.S.-born population generated a deficit of $68.7
billion. Without immigrant contributions to the Fund it would reach insolvency faster disrupting the care of millions of Americans.
Given that immigrants are more likely to be of working age, often migrate with the intent to work and have a higher rate of
labor force participation, the author suggests that increasing the numbers of working-age immigrants would augur well for
America's future wellbeing. (Denzil Mohammed)
Immigrant Fact Sheets,
Americas Society & Council of the Americas (AS/COA), February, 2013 to June, 2014.
These fact sheets (currently 10 in number), produced by the Immigration and Integration Initiative of AS/COA, summarize
available research on the role of immigrants in the U.S. economy and explain "why comprehensive immigration reform is
necessary for future U.S. competitiveness." Each fact sheet gives "five reasons" for a specific claim
about immigration, including: why the U.S. economy needs immigrants, why the U.S. labor force needs immigrants, why immigrants
drive entrepreneurship and job creation, why immigrants are critical for the housing market, why the U.S.-Mexico border is
critical to the economy, why immigrants are critical for the agricultural sector, why immigrants are vital for the future
of the U.S. health care industry, why immigrants make cities more economically competitive, why immigrants contribute to safer
communities, and why immigrants drive the essential economy.
Immigrants and the Medical Profession: Good for our Health,
Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, Research Brief, May, 2014, 8 pp.
Zara Sohail Khan
The American Medical Association estimates that "International Medical
Graduates (IMGs)" constitute almost 27 percent of the physician workforce in the U.S. This research brief argues that
they perform a critical role in the U.S. healthcare system, serving in disproportionate numbers as "generalists"
in fields such as internal medicine and pediatrics and practicing in underserved areas, where the physician to population
ratio is low. The author predicts that the U.S. will need even greater numbers of IMGs in the future, as the percentage of
insured Americans increases under the Affordable Care Act and as the U.S. population continues to grow. Immigration
reform should take this need into account by allowing greater numbers of IMGs to enter and remain in the U.S. "What would
America have done if these International Medical Graduates never came? It's time we realize that they are the future doctors
The Increasing Importance of Immigrants to Science and Engineering in America,
National Foundation for American Policy, June, 2014, 21 pp.
The United States has benefitted enormously from foreign-born talent,
particularly since 1965 when the U.S. eliminated major restrictions on immigration and opened the door to immigrants from
Asia. In fact, the data show that the country's success in innovation, academia and high-skilled fields is linked to its more
open immigration policy. This is the contention of Stuart Anderson in the brief "The Increasing Importance of Immigrants
to Science and Engineering in America." Using data from a variety of sources, Anderson shows that lifting major restrictions
in immigration law in the mid-1960s has had a positive effect on many areas of American life. For example, the number of foreign-born
immigrants winning Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Medicine and Physics jumped after the 1960s. The same trend can be seen in foreign-born
PhDs working in science and engineering occupations, which grew from 23 percent in 1993 to 42 percent in 2010. At the nation's
top 7 cancer research centers, 42 percent of researchers are foreign-born. The increased number of high-skilled, foreign-born
entrepreneurs starting companies in the U.S. has contributed to new jobs, technology, growth and innovation. These findings
suggest that restrictive immigration policies such as those of the early 20th century have detrimental effects on the nation's
ability to innovate, create jobs and expand markets. (Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center,
Public Education Institute)
Identifying And Measuring the Lifelong Human Capital of "Unskilled" Migrants in the
Mexico-US Migratory Circuit,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2:2 (2014),24 pp.
Jacqueline Hagan & Jean Luc Demonsant
In this article, the authors argue that "unskilled"
migrants develop skills over time and can be valuable assets to the receiving country should immigration policies take these
"informal skills" into greater account. Through a bi-national research project that did interviews with 320
Mexican return migrants, the authors examine the idea that while many migrants are "unskilled" in terms of the formal
human capital they bring to the U.S. migratory circuit, the creation of human capital is a lifelong process often "learned
away from the classroom." For the immigrants interviewed, these included not only learning basic English but also
technical skills, occupational mobility and entrepreneurship. As a result, the authors conclude that traditional U.S.
immigration policy, which values "skilled" over "unskilled" immigrants, needs to be reevaluated in terms
of its definition of "skilled" within a life-long human capital framework. Policy should, according to the authors,
match immigrant abilities to specific needs to the US economy. Similarly, the authors suggest that the Mexican government
should recognize the potential economic contributions that "return migrants" could bring to the Mexican economy.(Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center, Public Education Institute)
High-Skilled Workers and Twentieth-First Century Innovation: The H-1B Program's Impact on Wages,
Jobs, and the Economy,
Immigration Policy Center, April, 2014, 8 pp.
This paper serves
as a short primer on the H-1B visa program and relies on data and analyses from sources such as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services and The Brookings Institution to "debunk the most prevalent myths" about the program. For instance,
the report finds that H-1B workers do not harm job opportunities for, or depress the wages of, native-born workers. On the
contrary, overall wages in high-demand STEM fields are growing, and H1-1B-driven increases in STEM workers were associated
with increases in the wages of U.S.-born counterparts. Moreover, H-1B workers are generally paid more than their non-H-1B
counterparts within the same occupations for workers with similar experience. Furthermore, highly skilled immigrants complement
their native-born peers rather than substituting for them as evidenced by the low unemployment rate in the STEM fields, which
garner two-thirds of all successful H-1B applicants. The paper urges expansion of the H-1B visa program, an increase in permanent
visas for STEM workers, and strengthening STEM training for native-born workers to meet 21st-century demands. (Denzil Mohammed)
Better Business: How Hispanic Entrepreneurs are Beating Expectations and Bolstering the U.S
Partnership for a New American Economy & the Latino Donor Collaborative, April, 2014, 34 pp.
Hispanic Americans have increased their rates of self-employment over the past three decades
and, as a result, helped prevent worse economic fallout during the recent recession. These are the major findings of Better
Business: How Hispanic Entrepreneurs Are Beating Expectations and Bolstering the U.S. Economy. The report uses data from
the U.S. Census, American Community Survey and the Survey of Business Owners to show that Hispanic Americans are turning to
entrepreneurship at a rate that outstrips both their birth rate and the non-Hispanic self-employment rate. For instance, the
number of Hispanic entrepreneurs rose from 577,000 to more than two million between 1990 and 2012, which is 18 times faster
than the growth of non-Hispanic American entrepreneurs. Among Hispanic immigrants, entrepreneurship growth more than quadrupled
particularly among immigrants from Mexico. Such high rates of entrepreneurship were seen even during the recession when the
national unemployment rate would have increased by 0.4 percent without the jobs created by Hispanic-owned businesses. The
report profiles several successful Hispanic American entrepreneurs whose businesses have had significant economic impact on
their communities. The data and profiles underscore the rising importance of Hispanic Americans although the authors note
the lack of political support for measures to help Hispanics grow their businesses. (Denzil Mohammed)
Lessons for U.S. Metro Areas: Characteristics and Clustering of High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneurs,
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2014, 25 pp.
Authors: Cathy Yang Liu, Gary Painter, & Qingfang
Lessons for U.S. Metro Areas: Characteristics and Clustering of High-Tech Immigrant
Entrepreneurs examines the importance and impact of high-tech entrepreneurship at local and regional levels and suggests
what cities and metros can do to attract and nurture foreign-born entrepreneurs. Using American Community Survey data, the
report finds spatial, industry and growth differences between foreign- and native-born entrepreneurs. Immigrant-owned
high-tech businesses, for example, are more concentrated in a limited number of industries, such as computer sciences and
medical- and pharmaceutical-related fields, whereas U.S.-born entrepreneurs are more evenly distributed across all high-tech
sectors. The data show the increasing importance of high-tech immigrant workers and entrepreneurs in buttressing local
innovation economies. Immigrants now make up 20 percent of the high-tech workforce and 17.3 percent of high-tech entrepreneurs,
up from 13.7 percent and 13.5 percent in 2000.The study also examines the factors that explain the clustering of immigrant
entrepreneurs in particular metropolitan areas. High-tech immigrant entrepreneurs are drawn to areas of high ethnic
diversity that already boast large immigrant populations and which are culturally open to new people and ideas. The data show
that 80 percent of immigrant high-tech entrepreneurs are found in the largest 25 metropolitan areas -- one-third in New York,
Los Angeles and San Francisco alone -- compared with 57 percent of U.S.-born entrepreneurs. (Denzil Mohammed)
No Longer Home Grown: How Labor Shortages are Increasing America's Reliance on Imported Fresh
Produce and Slowing U.S. Economic Growth,
Partnership for a New American Economy & the Agriculture Coalition
for Immigration Reform, March, 2014, 27 pp.
Author: Stephen Bronars
As U.S. consumption
of fresh fruit and vegetables has risen, driven by a health-conscious public and the movement to locally source agricultural
products, the percentage of these crops produced abroad has increased. Although free trade agreements may account for part
of this trend, this report suggests that the shortage of agricultural labor is forcing many farmers to shift from labor intensive
crops (fruits and vegetables) to less labor intensive crops like cereal grains, which can be harvested mechanically.
As this transition occurs, the skills involved in producing fruits and vegetables are lost. "Had U.S. fresh fruit and
vegetable growers been able to maintain the domestic market share they held from 1998-2000, their communities would have enjoyed
a substantial economic boost, resulting in an estimated $4.9 billion in addition farming income and 89,300 more jobs in 20112
alone. The increase in production necessary to stave off a growing reliance on imports would also have raised U.S. Gross Domestic
Product by almost $12.4 billion that year." The report urges passage of immigration reform bills similar to the
one passed by the Senate in 2013, which would allow as many as 300,000 additional temporary farm workers during periods of
high labor market need.
The Economic Case for a Clear, Quick Pathway to Citizenship: Evidence from Europe and North
Center for American Progress, January, 2014, 43 pp.
Authors: Pieter Bevelander & Don J. DeVoretz
This paper builds on a body of research showing the economic benefits of citizenship for
immigrants. After reviewing this research, the authors examine the experience of other countries in Europe and North
America with legalization programs and classify countries into three types: those with high citizenship premiums (e.g. Canada);
those with moderate citizenship premiums (Germany); and those with low citizenship premiums (The Netherlands and Norway).
Their purpose is to identify the specific policies and procedures that seem to produce the maximum economic gain in
the form of higher wages, greater social capital acquisition, greater consumption, and higher tax revenues. The size of the
gain depends on a number of factors, including the time it takes to naturalize (longer waits delay positive impacts), the
occupational profile of the immigrant population (lower skilled people show higher gains); whether dual citizenship is tolerated;
and the nature of the barriers encountered in the process, e.g. high fees and unrealistic native language requirements deter
people from applying. The authors conclude that the current 13-year path to citizenship in the Senate immigration bill
is far from ideal (a five-year wait seems to produce the best results from an economic standpoint). "Given that 13 years
is already far longer than the optimal period, lengthening the pathway any further will only further diminish (economic) returns."
The authors also question the fees and penalties associated with the Senate pathway to citizenship, which will likely deter
or prevent many people from applying.
Immigration and Entrepreneurship,
Institute for the Study of Labor, October, 2013, 56 pp
Authors: Robert W. Fairlie &
This paper provides an overview of economics research on immigrant entrepreneurship in the U.S.
The authors begin by tracing the "large contributions" that immigrant entrepreneurs have made to the American economy.
The paper also explores differences in entrepreneurship rates and type among various immigrant groups and the factors that
produce such differences. The authors also explore whether immigrant entrepreneurship has had negative consequences for groups
of U.S.-born workers. Looking at data from the American Community Survey and the Survey of Business Owners, among other
sources, the report finds that business ownership among immigrants (11 percent) is higher than that among native-born Americans
(9.6 percent). Indeed, 18.2 percent of all businesses are owned by immigrants although they constitute only 13 percent of
population. However, immigrant-owned businesses have lower average earnings than native-owned businesses and their contributions
are higher in states with large immigrant concentrations such as California, where immigrants own 37 percent of all businesses.
There are higher entrepreneurship rates among some groups than others, such as Koreans, Iranians and Brazilians. Overall,
Asian immigrants have a higher entrepreneurship rate and better business performance than other groups. In offering such a
sweeping portrait, the report also identifies the following gaps in research: how immigrant-owned businesses contribute
to job creation, how they stimulate U.S. exports, and the connection between immigrant entrepreneurship and innovations in
design and manufacturing. (Denzil Mohammed)
Immigration Reform: Implications for Growth, Budgets, and Housing,
Bipartisan Policy Center, October, 2013, 35 pp
In this economic
modeling study funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Bipartisan Policy Center presents five distinct immigration policy
scenarios and projects their effects on the overall economy, housing and wages, and the federal deficit. The reference
case is based on the 2013 Senate-passed immigration bill (S.744). The report finds that the Senate bill would increase
economic growth by 4.8 percent over a 20-year period, lower the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the same period, increase
demand for housing, raise wages, and increase the size of the labor force by 4.4 percent by the year 2033, thereby offsetting
the aging of the native-born workforce. The study explores a variety of alternate scenarios, such as greater shifting from
family to employment based visa categories, lower reductions in unauthorized immigration, lower wage gains for legalized immigrants,
and an "enforcement only" approach. The later scenario was the only one that produced negative economic consequences,
reducing GDP growth by almost 6 percent over a 20-year period. In some cases, "the results of the modeling indicate opportunities
to improve the economic performance of the reference case as well as policy areas that would benefit from further analysis."
Rebecca Talent, newly appointed immigration advisor to House Speaker John Boehner was the Director of Immigration Policy at
the Bipartisan Policy Center during the time that this report was prepared. (Denzil Mohammed)
Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions,
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, July, 2013,
brief outlines the tax benefits of legalizing undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Utilizing data from the Pew Research
Hispanic Trends Project, Fiscal Policy Institute and the Congressional Budget Office, the report finds that legalization would
increase the taxpaying power of these immigrants by about $2 billion. "The most significant revenue gain [would come]
from simply having these immigrants fully participate in the federal, state and local tax system." Currently, the authors
point out, the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants contribute approximately $10.6 billion in taxes. The report includes a
table showing current and projected tax contributions for all 50 states. California would gain the most (an increase of $327,118,000),
Illinois would gain $149,565,000, and New Jersey $81,240,000. An appendix provides state-by-state breakdowns of the current
and post-reform effective tax rates, as well as totals for sales, property and income taxes paid by undocumented immigrants.
A Tale of Two Cities (and a Town): Immigrants in the Rust Belt,
Bread for the World Institute, Briefing Paper, October, 2013, 15 pp.
Author: Andrew Wainer
Far from the traditional gateway cities of America, immigrants are revitalizing Rust Belt cities and rural communities
with outsized economic contributions. This is the thesis of Andrew Wainer's study of how largely lower-skilled immigrants
in three communities: Baltimore, Detroit, and West Liberty (Iowa) are reversing (or slowing) population decline and stimulating
entrepreneurial activity. Using semi-structured interviews with 78 key informants, the author paints a picture that complements
the familiar portrait of high-skilled immigrants helping to boost local economies. Wainer also draws on data from the Fiscal
Policy Institute on immigrant economic activity in the 25 largest Metro Areas. This data shows that Baltimore and Detroit
have the highest ratio of foreign-born entrepreneurs to natives of all 25 areas. High ratios also exist for other Rust Belt
cities such as St. Louis and Pittsburgh. In Baltimore, for example, the foreign-born represent nine percent of the population
and 21 percent of entrepreneurs. The data also indicate that immigrant neighborhoods have higher rates of employment and more
neighborhood businesses per resident than non-immigrant neighborhoods. The author concludes with a number of recommendations
designed to further boost the economic impact of immigration, including regularizing the status of the undocumented, thereby
allowing them to fully participate in and contribute to their communities. (Denzil Mohammed)
Broken Borders: Government, Foreign-Born Workers, and the U.S. Economy,
The Independent Institute, September 16, 2013, 20 pp.
Authors: Benjamin Powell & Zachary Gochenour
According to the Independent Institute, a California-based libertarian think tank, "The
U.S. government interferes with the market for foreign laborers by restricting the number and mix of immigrants and setting
tight quantitative limits on foreign-born guest workers. This has created a mismatch between the demand for foreign workers
from U.S. businesses and their supply, directly leading to the illegal immigration situation we confront today."
While welcoming the "marginal improvements" in visa availability made in the Senate immigration bill, the Institute
also propose the creation of a "Red Card" system, to be managed by a network of private employment agencies with
offices in foreign countries. Such a system would not limit the number of guest workers allowed to enter the U.S. Instead,
"Market forces would be harnessed to dictate the quantity and distribution of guest workers, across industries, geographic
space, and time." The balance of the paper argues for the eventual elimination of all governmental restrictions on global
migration. Just as free trade in goods and services has led to great economic gains, so too, the paper argues, will free movement
of people increase world prosperity. However, tearing down barriers to migration must also be accompanied by "building
a wall around the U.S. welfare state" and denying immigrants access to taxpayer-financed public education.
Understanding the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration Reform: A Guide to Current Studies
and Possible Expansions
Urban Institute, November, 2013, 20 pp.
Authors: Maria E. Enchautegui, Stephan Lindner, Erika C. Poethig
After the publication of at least ten studies in 2013 dealing with the economic effects of
immigration reform -- each with significant differences in scope, methodology, and conclusions - the Urban Institute decided
that it was time "to take stock of these studies' methods, critical assumptions, and strengths and limitations - and
then create a guide to help readers evaluate what's being said." Six studies were selected for in-depth analysis: three
measuring economic impact (Immigration Policy Center, Center for American Progress, and Congressional Budget Office), and
three measuring net fiscal impacts (Heritage Foundation, National Research Council, and Congressional Budget Office). The
guide includes useful tables permitting comparison of the main features of the six reports. The authors identify the
questionable assumptions that drive "the relatively high economic benefits" of the IPC and CAP studies. They
also explain why the fiscal impact studies produce results that range from positive to negative. For example, studies may
use different time horizons or they may include or exclude impacts on state and local governments. The Guide concludes by
pointing out that, despite the plethora of studies, important gaps in our understanding remain, including the benefits of
immigrant reforms to workers already residing in the country, and modelling the costs and benefits of providing benefits to
newly legalized workers sooner than the 13-year waiting period in the Senate bill.
Immigration and the Revival of American Cities: From Preserving Manufacturing Jobs to Strengthening
the Housing Market,
Partnership for a New American Economy & Americas Society/Council of the Americas,
September, 2013, 31 pp.
Author: Jacob L. Vigdor
argues that immigrants have a significant, mostly positive impact on the American communities in which they settle. It uses
U.S. Census and American Community Survey data to examine more than 3,000 counties between 1970 and 2010 to measure immigration's
impact on the number of middle-class manufacturing jobs, the health of the housing market, and the size of the local U.S.-born
population. The report finds that immigrants have contributed to community vitality in significant and myriad ways including
job creation, neighborhood revitalization, boosting civic engagement and raising housing prices. The data show that:
every 1,000 immigrants living in a county, 46 manufacturing jobs are created or preserved;
--For every 1,000 immigrants
that arrive to a county, 270 U.S.-born residents move there in response;
--The average immigrant who moves to a community
raises the total value of housing wealth by $92,800;
--More than 800,000 foreign-born U.S. residents have served in the
--The immigrant entrepreneurship rate is as much as three times higher than average; and,
contributions extend to rural communities and urban centers alike.
The author estimates that 100,000 more new immigrants
per year would create or preserve 4,600 American manufacturing jobs and grow U.S. housing wealth by $80 billion annually.
What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2013, 13 pp.
Authors Kathleen Newland
& Sonia Plaza
This policy brief provides an overview of
the many ways, beyond remittances, that diasporas stimulate development in their home countries. Governments in both home
countries and developing countries, as well as international organizations, are devoting increasing attention to the role
played by diasporas in promoting trade, direct investments, and the transfer of knowledge and skills. In 2013, the International
Organization for Migration held the first-ever global conference of diaspora minister, which attracted over 500 delegates.
Among examples of diaspora investment and knowledge transfers cited in the report are: the role of overseas Chinese in financing
China's emergence as a manufacturing powerhouse; the role of the Indian diaspora in helping to develop the information technology
sector in India; the ChileGlobal initiative of the government of Chile; and hospital construction and healthcare training
projects in Ghana and Ethiopia carried out with support from diasporas in Europe and the Americas. Developed countries
also benefit through the trade ties fostered by their diasporas.The report notes that governments in developing countries
sometimes have a hard time measuring "diaspora direct investment," as distinct from all foreign direct investment.
The authors conclude by noting that there are a "number of critical ingredients" in a successful diaspora strategy.
"These include identifying goals, mapping diaspora location and skills, fostering a relationship of trust with the diaspora,
maintaining sophisticated means of communication with the diaspora, and ultimately creating opportunities and clearing obstacles
for diasporas to contribute to national development."
What Do We Know about Skilled Migration and Development?
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2013, 11 pp.
Author: Michael A. Clemens
As the worldwide volume of skilled migration grows, how concerned should policymakers
be about the "brain drain" in developing countries? According to Michael A. Clemens, Senior Fellow at the Center
for Global Development and author of this policy brief, recent research challenges the widespread assumption of negative impact.
This brief, the third in a nine-brief series prepared by MPI in advance of the UN General Assembly's High-level Dialogue on
International Migration and Development (held on October 3-4, 2013), suggests that the emigration of skilled professionals
has important benefits for sending countries, including seeding new industries in, and transferring technologies to, developing
countries; encouraging greater investments in education in these countries (more students pursue education knowing there is
a migration option); and raising the level of remittances ("more educated migrants in general remit greater amounts to
their countries of origin than do less skilled migrants"). Moreover, "the research literature contains no example
of an accepted case where forcing people to reside in one geographic area, against their demonstrated will, has caused development
there." Indeed, countries with low rates of skilled emigration tend to have poor development outcomes. Clemens
also questions the wisdom of pursuing "self-sufficiency" in any industry, implying as it does a goal of zero net
migration. "Rather than try to build an immobile world," Clemens argues, "policymakers should plan for an increasingly
mobile world." The policy brief concludes with several recommendations, including new research to assess the effectiveness
of bilateral agreements to facilitate a mutually beneficial skill flow, and experimentation with ways to shift the cost of
skilled migrant's education away from taxpayers in origin countries and to beneficiaries in receiving countries.
Fixing our Broken Immigration System: The Economic Benefits of Providing a Path to Earned Citizenship,
The Executive Office of the President, August, 2013,
Failing to provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants
in the U.S. would result in significant economic costs, according to this report from the White House. The report argues
that a "legalization only" approach, which would allow people to legally work in the U.S. but not to acquire citizenship,
would greatly limit the economic benefits of immigration reform. Summarizing available research from a variety of sources,
the report finds that citizenship would not only benefit immigrants themselves, but also the larger economy. For instance,
one study, contrasting citizenship with legal status alone, found that the latter would result in $568 billion less GDP over
10 years and $321 billion less total income. In addition, an estimated 820,000 fewer total jobs would be created, and federal
and state governments would lose out on $75 billion in additional tax revenue. Much of this potential loss, the report suggests,
stems from the fact that citizenship provides not only the means to more actively participate in American society but also
a "greater certainty" in the future which leads to greater investments in education and training and greater willingness
to take the risk of starting a business. (Denzil Mohammed)
Key Components of Immigration Reform: An Analysis of the Economic Effects of Creating a Pathway
to Legal Status, Expanding High-Skilled Visas, & Reforming Lesser-Skilled Visas,
Regional Economic Models, Inc, July 17, 2013, 29 pp.
Frederick R. Treyz, Corey Stottlemyer, Rod Motamedi
This study finds that key components of the proposed comprehensive
immigration reform package passed by the Senate in June of 2013 would produce substantial economic gains for the nation, including
an increase in GDP and job creation. Building on the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the Senate bill, the
authors use a PI+ multiregional macroeconomic model to determine the effect of three components of the bill on the national
and state economies over the next 30 years. If passed by the House, a pathway to legal status would create 594,000 new net
U.S. jobs, boost GDP by $49.93 billion and increase personal income by $109 billion by 2018; an expansion of H-1B visas would
net 1.3 million more jobs by 2045 and a GDP increase of $158 billion; and reforming low-skilled visa programs would generate
365,000 new jobs by 2045 and an increase in GDP of $31 billion. The authors use a "conservative" methodology in
arriving at their estimates and differentiate between the economic benefits to immigrants and the gains to the broader U.S.
population The study also includes a series of state-level briefs on the impact of these policy reforms. (Denzil Mohammed)
American Made 2.0: How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Continue to Contribute to the U.S. Economy,
National Venture Capital Association, 2013, 30 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
Immigrant-founded venture-backed companies
are creating jobs and strengthening the U.S. economy at a fast-increasing rate according to a report from the National Venture
Capital Association. A follow-up to a 2006 report, "American Made 2.0: How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Continue to Contribute
to the U.S. Economy" analyzes the Thomson Reuters database of publicly traded U.S. companies to show a marked increase
in the economic influence of immigrant founders: between 2006 and 2012, immigrants started 33 percent of venture-backed companies
that became publicly traded compared to 20 percent before 2006 and seven percent before 1980. Venture-backed, publicly traded,
immigrant-founded companies have a total market capitalization of $900 billion, a stock exchange value that equates to the
16th largest economy in the world. The majority of these companies can be found in high-tech manufacturing, IT
and life sciences, and their founders are most likely to come on an employment-based visa from India, Taiwan and Israel. Furthermore,
according to its survey on immigrant entrepreneurs and immigration policy, venture capital members believe "U.S. immigration
laws for skilled professionals harm American competitiveness." Respondents said immigration policy reform must be more
favorable to foreign-born entrepreneurs, high-skilled workers and people wanting permanent residency. (Denzil Mohammed)
Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy in Growing Industries,
The Immigrant Learning Center, April, 2013, 50 pp.
Author: James JenningsThe thesis of this report is that immigrants play an outsized role in growing specific industries
relative to their presence in the general population, often expanding markets that previously did not exist. The report examines
the immigrant contribution to three mid- to high-growth industry sectors: transportation, food, and building services. The
report grew out of a 2010 conference on "Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Massachusetts" which developed the concept
of an "immigrant entrepreneurship ecology" and suggested that these non-tech sectors may be crucial in growing the
green economy. Using Census data and in-depth interviews with 10 business owners and industry players in Massachusetts,
New York and Pennsylvania, the report finds that the three sectors are experiencing significant revenue and job growth, thanks
to the substantial presence of immigrants both as entrepreneurs and workers. For example, immigrants represent 67.4 percent
of workers and 74.0 percent of entrepreneurs in Waste Management and Remediation Service; they also constitute 48.9 percent
of workers and 62.8 percent of entrepreneurs in Taxi and Limousine Service. The report concludes with a series of recommendations
designed to enhance the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs to the overall economy, including funneling more start-up
capital to immigrant entrepreneurs, integrating them into business associations and chambers of commerce, and building bridges
between them and environmental groups. (Denzil Mohammed)
The Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants,
Center for American Progress, March 20, 2013,
Authors: Robert Lynch & Patrick Oakford
The authors of this study analyze the 10-year economic impacts of immigration reform under three scenarios:
first, legal status and citizenship are both granted to the undocumented in 2013; second, the unauthorized are provided legal
status in 2013 and are able to earn citizenship five years thereafter; and third, the unauthorized are granted legal
status in 2013 but without a path to citizenship within the 10-year time frame of the study. Under the first scenario, GDP
would grow by $1.4 trillion; combined federal, state, and local tax revenues would increase by $184 billion; and an average
of 203,000 jobs would be created per year; over the 10-year period between 2013 and 2022. Delaying citizenship would reduce
economic benefits, but even legalization alone without citizenship would yield GDP growth of $832 billion. The authors review
the reasons why legalization and citizenship produces income gains for immigrants and benefits for the economy as a whole.
The study suggests that unauthorized immigrants are currently earning far less than their potential, paying much less in taxes
and contributing significantly less to the U.S. economy than they potentially could. (Denzil Mohammed)
US Economic Competitiveness at Risk: A Midwest Call to Action
on Immigration Reform
Independent Task Force, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 2013, 54 pp.
Lead Writer: Tamar Jacoby
Frustrated by long-term federal inaction on immigration reform, an independent, 44-member task force
assembled by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs asserts that increased immigration is critical to the economic competitiveness
of the U.S. as a whole and the Midwest region in particular. Capping a 15-month initiative to enhance public understanding
of immigration and its importance to the Midwest, the task force’s report makes clear that “the nation’s
broken immigration system is holding back the region’s economic growth and clouding its future.” The report asserts
that “the US workforce alone is not educated enough to sustain a globally competitive knowledge economy.” Moreover,
low-skilled workers are needed to fuel the industrial restructuring happening across the region, including the depletion of
native-born population in rural areas. The task force develops the rationale and outlines the principles for sound immigration
policy and concludes that, without increased immigration at both the high- and low-skilled ends of the labor spectrum, the
Midwest will continue its population and economic decline. This need for immigrants includes a “world-class skilled
workforce,” entrepreneurs, students in the STEM fields, a seasonal workforce and legal entry for low-skilled workers,
a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, immigrant integration initiatives and better tools for employers to verify
the work eligibility of new employees. (Denzil Mohammed)
Are Foreign Students the ‘Best and Brightest'?
Economic Policy Institute, February 28, 2013, 28 pp.
Author: Norman MatloffThis study seeks to test the claim that foreign students graduating from American universities
and granted temporary visas under the H-1B program are the "best and brightest." The author finds that the tech
industry's "genius" claims for this group are not supported by the available data. "Compared to Americans of
the same education and age, the former foreign students turn out to be weaker than, or at most comparable to, the Americans
in terms of salary, patent applications, Ph.D. dissertation awards, and quality of the doctoral program in which they studied."
Moreover, these workers are crowding out
Americans from STEM fields, causing an "internal brain drain,"
as U.S. citizens and permanent residents seek higher salaries in other fields. The author is adamantly opposed to any
policy that would grant automatic green cards to foreign STEM students studying at American universities. Instead, the author
would increase the number of visas awarded in the EB-1 category, for "foreign nationals of extraordinary ability."
He would also close loopholes in the definition of what constitutes a "qualified" worker under the existing H-1B
Immigrants are Makers, Not Takers,
Center for American Progress, February 8, 2013, 8 pp.
Authors: Marshall Fitz, Philip E. Wolgin, & Patrick Oakford
policy brief critiques two studies produced by restrictionist groups that claim that immigrants take more out of the system
than they pay into it. The first study, produced by the Heritage Foundation in 2007, argues that legalizing undocumented immigrants
would cost taxpayers "at least 2.6 trillion." The second study, produced by the Center for Immigration Studies in
2011, claims that immigrants (both documented and undocumented) use more in welfare benefits than native households. The first
report derives its cost estimate from Social Security and Medicare costs for legalized aliens without taking into consideration
tax contributions of immigrants during their lifetimes. The report also disregards other research showing that immigrants
receive less in Social Security benefits than the native-born. The second report, according to the authors, manipulated the
data by excluding immigrant households without children and by not controlling for differences in income levels. Indeed, other
recent studies point to comparable, if not lower, rates of welfare utilization among legal immigrants than among the native-born
population. The policy brief also includes capsule summaries of recent research showing that immigrants are "makers,
Ripe with Change: Evolving Farm Labor Markets in the United States, Mexico, and Central
America,Wilson Center & Migration Policy Institute, February, 2013, 31 pp.
Authors: Philip Martin & J. Edward Taylor
This report examines how changing policy, agriculture,
education and economic conditions are affecting the availability of immigrant farm labor in the U.S., Mexico, and Central
America. Prepared by University of California (Davis) researchers for the Migration Policy Institute, the report uses data
from a variety of sources including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Department of Homeland Security
and Global Agricultural Trade System to examine changes in the volume and composition of production, the supermarket revolution
in Latin America, and regional trends in training and education. The authors find that there has been a drop in U.S. farm
labor participation by Mexicans. The economic slowdown north of the border coupled with a fast-rising agricultural sector
and competitive wages south of the border has resulted in a decrease in Mexican farm labor not only in the U.S. but also in
Mexico itself, where Guatemalans have stepped in to fill labor gaps. According to the authors, "there is evidence that
the supply of farm labor in the region is decreasing and that, in the future, farmers throughout the region will find themselves
competing for a dwindling number of local farm workers." This shortage may require that farmers cast a much wider net,
perhaps recruiting for farm labor in Asia, but in the process raising the cost of production and thereby creating incentives
for further mechanization. (Denzil Mohammed)
Citizen Gain: The Economic Benefits of Naturalization for Immigrants and the Economy,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (University of Southern California),
December, 2012, 28 pp.
Authors: Manuel Pastor & Justin Scoggins
The purpose of this study is
to determine whether citizenship, in and of itself, leads to observed income gains for immigrants, or whether other characteristics
of naturalized immigrants, such as English-speaking ability, a "go-getter" attitude, or country of origin,
account for these gains. The authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various methodological approaches to answering
this question and review earlier studies seeking to unravel the economic impact of naturalization. Conducting a multivariate
regression analysis on a sample size of 183,000 drawn from the 2010 American Community Survey, the authors estimate an 8 to
11 percent gain in individual earnings resulting from naturalization alone. By reducing the number of eligible non-naturalized
by half over five years, they further estimate an indirect benefit of at least $37 billion in GDP gain. The authors review
recent efforts to promote naturalization, including microloan programs in Illinois and Maryland, and suggest a lowering of
naturalization fees to remove financial disincentives to apply. They conclude that "encouraging naturalization is not
just the right thing to do; it is an economic imperative in a nation still working to emerge from the shadow of recession.
Digital Diaspora: How Immigrants Are Capitalizing on Today's Technology,
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, November, 2012, 37 pp.
Center describes this report as "a first-of-its-kind portrait about mobile technology usage among immigrants." The
report is based on a non-randomized sample of 118 adult immigrants in the Philadelphia area who responded to the Center's
survey on cell phone use. Their responses were compared against data on general cell phone in the U.S. as reported by the
Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report finds that immigrants "have embraced mobile technology to an extraordinary
degree." In some cases, immigrants arrive in the U.S. having greater familiarity with mobile technology than the average
American. As might be expected, international calling and Skype usage are much greater among immigrants than the general population,
but so are texting (95 percent vs. 73 percent), online purchasing (35 percent vs. 20 percent), updating social media (65 percent
vs. 59 percent), uploading videos or audios (47 percent vs. 22 percent), and uploading photos (62 percent vs. 22 percent).
The report provides many examples of how smart phones are used by immigrants to bolster small business ventures, often involving
contacts with friends or relatives in other countries. Mobile technology also enables immigrants or their relatives abroad
to participate in weddings, funerals, graduations, and other important events. In addition, immigrants are using their phones
as "creative learning tools" helping them, for example, to master English. The report offers many provocative conclusions
and implications from these findings.
Immigrants, Ethnic Identities and the Nation-State,
Institute for the Study of Labor,
November, 2012, 38 pp.
Authors: Amelie F. Constant
& Klaus F. Zimmermann
Looking at immigrants as "natural innovators," this
paper discusses the complex and malleable process of identity formation and its impact on individual adaptation, economic
outcomes, and nation building. The authors explore the relationship between national and ethnic identities and how an immigrant's
background along with the attitudes, laws, and history of host countries, combine to influence how immigrants adjust
and adapt, as well as how the identities of natives are also negotiated and influenced by these factors. The authors further
examine identity formation as it affects "the utility function of economic agents" and point to how a more complete
understanding of the process can assist in building more accurate economic models. Additionally, the paper discusses how the
ways in which states "negotiate identities" through specific policies can impact and influence the economic behavior
of individuals. The authors examine evidence from several "multicultural" nations including France, Germany, Great
Britain and the United States, contrasting the ideals and policies of these countries and their relationship to the labor
market performance and identity development of immigrants within these nations. Finally, the authors conclude by noting the
dubiousness of forming predictive models based on contextual and shifting categories of identity, and call for further research
on identity formation and its consequences. (Daniel McNulty)
U.S. Government, Heal Thyself: Immigration Restrictions and America's Growing Health
National Foundation for American Policy, November, 2012, 27 pp.
policy brief argues that the growing demand for health care services today and in the future necessitates a more efficient
and adaptive immigration system to allow for foreign-born medical personnel to fill gaps in the U.S. health care delivery
system. The report notes that "the United States is saddled with an immigration system designed to prevent, not facilitate,
the entry of highly skilled...medical personnel." A restrictive immigration policy, decades-long wait times and a dearth
of even temporary visas for a wide variety of medical professionals are leading to a shortage of workers for an industry that
will need to be expanded given the aging U.S. population and the demands of the Affordable Care Act. The author laments the
protectionism of the various professional associations that have opposed expansion of immigration opportunities for foreign-trained
doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. He also challenges the "brain drain" argument used by opponents
of increased immigration. The brief makes four recommendations: first, expand the number of employment-based green cards for
foreign-born health care workers so that wait times are reduced; second, establish a temporary visa that facilitates
the entry of foreign-born nurses; third, expand the Conrad 30 Program to include more physicians per state for underserved
communities; and fourth, streamline state licensing and other procedures for foreign-born medical personnel to help with the
nation's long-term health care needs.(Denzil Mohammed)
Growth and Immigration: A Handbook of Vital Immigration and Economic Growth Statistics,
George W. Bush Institute, November, 2012, 125 pp.
The 4% Growth Project
of the George W. Bush Institute prepared this document for its inaugural Dallas conference on immigration policy held on December
4, 2012. Written by Matthew Denhart, the Handbook paints a sweeping portrait of America's immigrants to show their contribution
to the U.S. economy and society, with special emphasis on the immigrant role in economic innovation and business creation.
Utilizing the latest Census data and drawing on research published elsewhere, the Handbook features a series of 50 attractive
charts, many of which are designed to show that "immigration reform is a key component to achieving strong and
lasting economic growth." Written in easy-to-understand language, the report also offers many surprising facts,
debunks myths and makes note of new trends in immigration. It points out, for example, that when more immigrants are present
in the population natives are more likely to complete high school; that immigrants are an important component of urban
revitalization because they help raise property values; and that recent immigrants to the U.S. have higher average levels
of education than earlier waves of immigrants. The Handbook also contains a chapter on "challenges" associated with
immigration, such as the soaring costs of border enforcement, poverty levels among immigrants, and the "anti-worker bias"
built into our current immigration system.
Help Wanted: The Role of Foreign Workers in the Innovation Economy,
Information Technology Industry Council, Partnership for a New American Economy,
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, November, 2012, 32 pp.
This report presents evidence to show that foreign-born
workers in the Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields are complementing - not displacing - their American
counterparts. It also shows that the American economy is facing a STEM talent shortage that foreign-born workers, particularly
those who are educated at U.S. graduate and post-graduate programs, can fill. Previous research has shown that for every
foreign-born student who stays in the U.S., 2.62 jobs on average are created for American workers. Using data from the U.S.
Census and the U.S. Department of Education Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), this report clarifies
several outstanding issues on which the U.S. Congress can take action. It also debunks many popular myths on the topic.
It shows that while STEM fields employ a far higher proportion of foreign workers than non-STEM fields, those fields with
high percentages of foreign STEM workers have low unemployment rates for U.S. workers. In fact, there is full employment
for U.S. STEM workers according to the report and, in many STEM occupations, unemployment is virtually non-existent. Furthermore,
foreign-born STEM workers are paid on par with U.S. STEM workers.(Denzil Mohammed)
Then and Now: America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs,
The Kauffman Foundation, October, 2012, 29 pp.
This report finds
that the growth rate of high-tech, immigrant-founded startups - a critical source of innovation for the U.S. economy - has
stagnated and may be on the verge of decline. This has happened despite the fact that such companies employed about 560,000
workers and generated an estimated $63 billion in sales from 2006 to 2012. The study finds that the proportion of immigrant-founded
companies nationwide has slipped from 25.3 percent to 24.3 percent since 2005. The drop is even more pronounced in Silicon
Valley, where the percentage of immigrant-founded startups declined from 52.4 percent to 43.9 percent. Defying this trend
were Indian and Chinese immigrants, whose startup rates have increased. Indian immigrants, in fact, founded more of the engineering
and technology firms than immigrants born in the next nine top countries combined. California had the highest percentage
of total immigrant-founded firms in the country (31 percent), but New Jersey had the highest state percentage of immigrant-founded
firms (45.1 percent), followed by Massachusetts (41.7 percent) and California (39.6 percent). The report also provides
a breakdown of the specific industries in which immigrant founders are active, with the three largest being innovation/manufacturing-related
services (45 percent), software (22 percent), and bioscience (11 percent). The report concludes that "high-skilled
immigrants will remain a critical asset for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the global economy" but that the downward
trend in immigrant entrepreneurship may jeopardize future growth. (Denzil Mohammed)
The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2012, 19 pp.
This study suggests that there are significant economic benefits for eligible noncitizens-numbering around eight
million in the U.S.-to naturalize. These include higher salaries, a greater likelihood of employment and more access to highly
skilled jobs. This gap between foreign-born citizens and noncitizens, the report finds, may be due to higher levels of education,
English acquisition and work experience among naturalized Americans. Despite the advantages of citizenship, the cost of citizenship
($680), fear of failure in the English and U.S. history citizenship exams and a lack of knowledge about the naturalization
process inhibit Legal Permanent Residents from acquiring citizenship status. To overcome these barriers, the authors suggest
that formal immigrant integration policies, inclusive of proactive naturalization campaigns, will enable immigrants and the
country as a whole to realize the benefits of naturalization, including greater levels of economic competitiveness, innovation
and entrepreneurship. (Denzil Mohammed)
Open for Business: How Immigrants are Driving Small Business Creation in the United
The Partnership for a New American Economy, August, 2012, 37 pp.
Written by Robert
W. Fairlie, Professor of Economics at the University of California (Santa Cruz), this report focuses on the creation of new
businesses, defined as business under five years old. Fairlie reports that new businesses have been responsible for
all net job creation in the U.S. over the past three decades and that "immigrant businesses are having an enormous impact
on the U.S. economy." Immigrants are more than twice as likely as the native-born to start a business. In 2011,
they were responsible for 28 percent of all business start-ups, well in excess of their share of the population (12.9 percent).
Moreover, immigrants are active in those sectors of the economy that the U.S. government expects to grow the fastest over
the new decade, starting 25 percent of all companies in these sectors. Immigrants from all ethnic and educational backgrounds
are contributing to this economic activity. Mexicans, for example, now own more than 570,000 U.S. businesses, representing
more than 1 in every 25 businesses in the country. In addition, more than 37 percent of new immigrant business owners
lack a high school diploma. As a whole, immigrant-owned businesses employ one out of every 10 U.S. workers. The report
concludes that "any serious plan on job growth much recognize and welcome immigrant entrepreneurs, who in the coming
years will play an outsized role...in creating new businesses, creating new jobs, and driving economic growth." The report
includes many helpful tables and charts, including data on immigrant business formation by state.
Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development,
Migration Policy Institute and International Organization for Migration, 2012, 256 pp.
Since the first meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in 2007, governments and civil society organizations
have devoted increasing attention to the ways that diasporas - defined as "communities of emigrants and their descendants"
in this report - have contributed to development in their countries of origin. Many governments, in both countries of origin
and destination, have established partnerships with diaspora communities to facilitate the development process. This Handbook
is designed as "a user-friendly, accessible, and practical guide on the state of the art in governmental diaspora initiatives."
The authors gathered data and perspectives from an international survey of government officials, follow-up interviews,
consultations at international meetings, and a review of the literature. They recommend a planning framework ("road map")
consisting of the following elements: "identifying goals, mapping diaspora geography and skills, creating a relationship
of trust between diasporas and governments... and, ultimately, mobilizing diasporas to contribute to sustainable development."
The Handbook explores the contributions that diasporas have played in the six key areas of remittances, direct investments,
human capital transfers, philanthropic contributions, capital market investments, and tourism. It also details the policy
and program initiatives that have maximized diaspora contributions in each of these areas.
Picking Winners: Olympic Citizenship and the Global Race for Talent,
The Yale Law Journal, June 30, 2011, 52 pp.
This paper discusses
the "striking transformation of citizenship" in the modern world - a transformation that has received "scant
attention in academic circles." Written by Ayelet Shachar, Professor of Law, Political Science & Global Affairs at
the University of Toronto, the paper examines the growing willingness of governments to grant citizenship in order to attract
people of exceptional talent and ability. This practice has "turn(ed) an institution steeped with notions of collective
identity, belonging, loyalty, and perhaps even sacrifice into a recruitment tool for bolstering a nation's standing relative
to its competitors." In his analysis, the author uses the world of Olympic sports as a test case and "window"
to explore the broader implications of the practice. He uses the term "Olympic citizenship" to apply to fast-tracked,
strategic grants of citizenship to bolster the competitive standing of national teams - referred to as "talent poaching"
by some critics. He proposes a solution -- called the "Fair play mobility principle" -- that steers a middle course
between unbridled competition and abolition. This solution might require international sporting authorities to impose a one-year
residency rule before any foreign national could compete for a new country, or to impose "play-stay" rules, in which
a player who has already represented the home country in an official international competition would not be permitted to play
for another national team, even if citizenship were granted by the new country. Shachar sees his essay as raising a
host of new issues in a world where nation-states are jockeying for competitive advantage in many different economic sectors,
not just sports. The "mercantilization of the passport" could "erode something deeper - the basic social and
political relationships we hold towards one another as members of the same polity..."
Immigrant Small Business Owners: A Significant and Growing Part of the Economy,
Fiscal Policy Institute, June, 2012, 32 pp.
This compendium of data
about immigrant small business owners is drawn from the Survey of Business Owners, conducted by the Census Bureau every five
years. The immigrant share of small business owners in the U.S., at 18 percent, is higher than the immigrant share of the
U.S. population (13 percent). Defined as firms with less than 100 employees, immigrant small businesses employed an estimated
4.7 million people, and generated an estimated $776 billion in receipts in 2007. The report examines the educational background
of immigrant small business owners, reveals the industries in which they operate, and identifies their countries of origin.
"It is clear," the report concludes, "that immigrants are an important part of America's small business environment.
Immigrants bring ideas, connections to new markets, and a spirit of entrepreneurship with them to the United States."
Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners, and their Access to Financial Capital,
Robert W. Fairlie, Ph.D., for the Office of Advocacy, US. Small Business Administration, May,
2012, 46 pp.
Drawing on specially commissioned tabulations from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners, as well
as information from the 2010 Current Population Survey, the author of this report paints a detailed portrait of immigrant
business owners in the U.S. Not only is the business ownership rate higher for immigrants than non-immigrants (10.5 percent
for immigrants vs. 9.3 percent for the U.S. born), but the rate of business formation per month is even higher: 0.62 percent
for immigrants (or 620 out of 100,000), compared to 0.28 percent (or 280 out of 100,000) for non-immigrants. Immigrant-owned
businesses are also more likely to export than non-immigrant owned businesses (7.1 percent of immigrant firms compared with
4.4 percent of non-immigrant). The author speculates that "higher levels of exports among immigrant owned firms may help
these firms succeed in the long run and help to improve the U.S. trade imbalance with the rest of the world." The author
also observes that the rate of business formation among immigrants, as among non-immigrants, rises during periods of recession
but declines during periods of economic growth. However, "in the Great Recession there appears to be an even greater
response of starting businesses among immigrants than among non-immigrants, which may have to do with lower-skilled workers
having more difficulty in finding jobs." Finally, the author suggests that barriers to business formation and expansion
experienced by immigrants may be costly to the overall growth and productivity of the U.S. economy "especially because
immigrants represent an increasing share of the total population and have a proclivity towards entrepreneurship."
Not coming to America: Why the U.S. is Falling Behind
in the Global Race for Talent,
The Partnership for a New American Economy & The
Partnership for New York City, May, 2012, 48 pp.
This report paints a bleak picture of U.S. competitiveness
in the "global talent rush." Many nations now see immigration as an essential element in their national economic
strategy. Detailing the policy reforms implemented by major developed countries in recent years to attract highly skilled
immigrants, as well as the efforts of sending countries, such as China and India, to provide incentives to expatriates and
their children to return home to start new business ventures, the report laments the failure of the United States to develop
a strategic vision for its immigration policy and to reform an "antiquated" immigration system crafted nearly 50
years ago and no longer functional in the modern world. Noting major shortages of native-born talent in key STEM areas, low
growth in the domestic labor force coupled with an aging population, and the important role played by immigrants as innovators
and entrepreneurs, the report calls for reform of an "incoherent" and "irrational" American immigration
system. The report concludes by suggesting that six commonsense ideas should underlie future immigration policy: "any
university graduate with an advanced degree in an essential field should automatically be eligible for a green card...award
more green cards based on economic needs...scrap the limits on high-skill H1B visas...give seasonal and labor-intensive industries
access to foreign workers when they cannot fill the jobs with Americans...allow local governments to recruit more immigrants
to meet regional needs."
Immigrant Workers in the U.S. Labor Force,The Brookings Institution and Partnership for a New American
Economy, March, 2012, 18 pp.
This study examines the number and role of immigrants in four low-skilled and four
high-skilled sectors of the American economy: accommodation, agriculture, construction, food services, healthcare, high
tech manufacturing, information technology, and life science. Using data from the 2010 Current Population Survey and the 2010
American Community Survey, the author finds that "immigrants and native-born workers tend to work in different jobs within
both high- and low-skilled industries." The most striking examples of this complemtarity may be found in the agriculture,
accommodation, and construction sectors. In the accommodation sector, for example, immigrants are found in large numbers in
"back of the house" occupations such as building and housekeeping cleaners, whereas native-born workers are found
in "front of the house" occupations such as desk clerks and managers. In information technology, the two top
occupations for immigrants are computer programmers and managers, whereas the two top occupations for native-born workers
are computer support specialists and network systems and data communication analysts. According to the author, as the
native-born population continues to age, "the labor force will increasingly depend upon immigrants and their children
to replace current workers and fill new jobs."
Data Reveal High Denial Rates for L-1 and H-1B Petitions
at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,
National Foundation for
American Policy, February, 2012, 19 pp.
The author of this report analyzes and bemoans the growing denial rates
for skilled professionals in non-immigrant temporary visa categories. In the H-1B category, for example, available to foreign
nationals who have the equivalent of a college degree or higher and who are working in specialty occupations, the denial rate
increased from 11 percent in FY 2007 to 21 percent in 2010. In addition, the application process has become more burdensome
and time-consuming, with “skyrocketing” numbers of “Requests for Evidence” or RFEs slowing down
the processing time and causing employers to refrain from applying in the first place. In addition, the reports finds
that a disproportionate number of Indian professionals have been refused visas. According to the author, this situation is
“harming the competitiveness of U.S. employers and encouraging companies to keep more jobs and resources outside the
Promoting Ethnic Entrepreneurship in European Cities,
European Union, 2011, 125 pp.
attempts to map the landscape of immigrant entrepreneurship in 28 cities of the European Union. It finds wide variations
in rates of entrepreneurship depending on local conditions and circumstances. The report notes that "entrepreneurship
is not an important part of the European integration policy for migrants" but that many European cities are beginning
to experiment with innovative approaches to promoting entrepreneurship. Such approaches not only facilitate self-employment,
but also the employment of other immigrants and the native-born population. The report identifies the barriers that face immigrant
entrepreneurs, whether lying within the structures, rules or regulations of political authorities or whether related to deficits
in the skills and training of potential entrepreneurs. The authors catalogue the wide range of programs available to aspiring
entrepreneurs, whether aimed at the general population or immigrants in particular, and conclude with a series of recommendations
for policy makers at all levels of European governance designed to "close the gap" in immigrant entrepreneurship
between the EU and the United States.
The Future of a Generation: How New Americans Will Help Support Retiring Baby Boomers,
Immigration Policy Center, February, 2012, 7 pp.
report is a succinct review of major demographic trends that are altering the age distribution of the population, both in
the US and globally, and that will have profound implications for immigration policy for many years to come. Written by Walter
A. Ewing, the report notes that birth rates are declining all over the world, even in traditional immigrant source countries
like Mexico and India; people are living longer; and that by 2030, there will be 1 billion elderly people, constituting one-eighth
of the world's population. In the US, the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation over the course of the next two decades
will lead to a doubling of the elderly (65+) population from 40.2 million to 88.5 million in 2050. The age distribution of
the U.S. population would be even more skewed toward the elderly were it not for the arrival of new immigrants, coupled with
their higher birth rates, which tends to bolster the ranks of the working-age population. Immigration notwithstanding, the
number of working-age adults for every elderly person declined from 7.5 in 1950 to 5.0 in 2000 and is projected to drop to
2.8 in 2050. The author concludes that "policymakers would be wise to take a much more purposeful and strategic approach
to immigration: legally admitting those immigrants who can help take the place of retiring baby boomers in the labor force,
care for the growing ranks of elderly Americans, and shore up the Social Security and Medicare systems with their tax dollars."
Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy,
Immigration Policy Center and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, January,
2012, 13 pp.
This report reviews a number of studies on immigrant entrepreneurship conducted by the Public Education
Institute of the Immigrant Learning Center and other researchers. Written by Marcia Drew Hohn, Director of the Institute,
the report finds that immigrant entrepreneurs help to "create jobs and strengthen the economy" but their pivotal
role in the economy "remain(s) largely unacknowledged in economic development policy and planning." The report
notes that immigrant entrepreneurs "come from all walks of life," and indeed "some lack significant educational
credentials" and start businesses to avoid the trap of low wage jobs. Yet they all render valuable services, whether
creating a neighborhood business or introducing a major technological innovation. The report concludes with five policy recommendations,
including the elimination of "red tape" in visa processing, and allowing graduate students in STEM fields to remain
in the U.S. to fill skilled labor positions or create startup ventures.
Our American Immigrant Entrepreneurs: The WomenImmigration and American Jobs,
Immigration Policy Center (IPC), December, 2011, 16 pp.
The contents of this IPC "special
report" are drawn from the book, Immigration and Women: Understanding the American Experience (New York University
Press, 2011). Noting that the rising rate of immigrant women entrepreneurship (9 percent in 2010) now exceeds the 6.5 percent
rate of native-born women, and that of all immigrant entrepreneurs in 2010, 40 percent were women, this report seeks to reveal
the particular experiences and challenges faced by women business owners and the contributions they are making to their communities
and to the economy as a whole. Many women started businesses "to repair their damaged self-esteem from underemployment
and exploitation." Many cited the inspiring example of women business owners in their home countries. Some sought independence
from abusive relationships. One strand of the report discusses how these women scraped together the resources to start their
businesses. Finally, the report concludes with "advice and suggestions" from women business owners themselves. This
report, and the book upon which it is based, seeks to understand the "gendered qualities" of migration.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and the Partnership for a New American
Economy, December, 2011, 23 pp.
This study seeks to answer a question often overlooked in the economics literature,
i.e. the impact of immigration on jobs in the United States, and even more importantly, the impact of specific types of immigrants
on job formation. A simplistic "supply and demand" model might suggest that immigrants with similar skills
displace US natives. An alternative model might suggest that immigrants complement US-born workers, helping to boost employment
in sectors of the economy occupied by native-born workers. As the report suggests, this question is "ultimately
an empirical one." Using 2000 to 2010 data from the Current Population Survey of the Census Bureau, the report examines
the size of specific cohorts of immigrants within each of the states and then compares that number with the number of jobs
created in those states during the period in question. Among the findings are the following: immigrants with advanced degrees
from US universities who work in STEM fields "dramatically boost employment for US natives." For every 100
such immigrants, there are 262 additional jobs created for US natives. The study also looks at three temporary workers programs:
H-1B visas for skilled workers, H-2A visas for seasonal agricultural workers, and H-2B visas for seasonal nonagricultural
workers. All programs appear to be positively related to improved employment outcomes for US-born workers. The report explores
the policy implications of these findings. It bemoans the fact that only 14 percent of the green cards issued each year are
allocated based on employment, compared to 25 percent in Canada, 42 percent in Australia, and almost 60 percent in the United
Kingdom and Germany. Arguing that "immigration policy can help fix the economy," the report calls for "more
permanent and temporary visas for highly educated immigrants, especially those in STEM fields, and expanded programs for both
skilled and less-skilled temporary foreign workers."
Immigrant Founders and Key Personnel in America's 50 Top Venture-Funded Companies,
National Foundation for American Policy, December, 2011, 21 pp.
This study examines
the important role played by immigrants in launching and sustaining leading venture-funded companies within the U.S. The author
found that immigrants started nearly half of America's top 50 venture-backed companies, and that 76 percent of all companies
employ an immigrant in either a key management or product development position. Relying on biographical data and interviews,
the author profiles fourteen companies and the immigrant entrepreneurs and employees that have been integral to their growth
and success. Throughout, the report reflects the importance of immigrants in "driving growth and innovation in America,"
and concludes with a call for policies to attract and retain global talent within the United States. (Dan McNulty)
Adult Children of Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Memories and influences,
The Immigrant Learning Center, in collaboration with researchers at the Institute for Asian
American Studies, University of Massachusetts, November, 2011, 53 pp.
Based on a series of 10 focus groups with
36 adult children of Asian and Hispanic immigrant entrepreneurs, this study attempts to understand the family dimensions of
the entrepreneurial experience and its lasting influence in the lives of the second generation. The participants in
the study were graduate students ranging in age from 21 to 32. Many of them attributed their work ethic to the example set
by their parents. Many learned useful interpersonal skills helping out with the family business. Many felt obliged to repay
the sacrifices made by their parents to give them a better future. Among the conclusions of the report: "there is little
doubt that these children understood, respected and were often deeply affected by the struggles and accomplishments of their
Eight Policies to Boost the Economic Contribution of Employment-Based Immigration,
Migration Policy Institute, June, 2011, 10 pp.
The authors of this paper contend
"that successful economic-stream immigration systems are transparent and flexible, create predictable outcomes, and remain
open to constant adaptation and experimentation." In order for immigration to be a "powerful tool for supporting
a country's economic growth and prosperity," the following policies should be implemented: temporary-to-permanent
visa pathways, streamlined immigration for the most skilled workers, special policies to retain top foreign students, allowing
employers to "pierce" numerical limits or other limits through the payment of special fees, regional and local engagement
in the admission process, the use of independent research to review and adjust immigration systems, and the development of
effective immigrant integration programs because "integration outcomes are a key measure of the success of any national
immigration policy, and such outcomes can be tracked and used as a feedback mechanism for determining needed adjustments to
Rebooting the American Dream: The Role of Immigration in a 21st Century
Immigration Policy Center (IPC),
November, 2011, 20 pp.
This "special report"
provides a digest of selected research on the economic impact of immigration on the American economy. According to these
studies, immigrants tend to complement rather than displace American workers on both the high and low ends of the immigration
skills spectrum, thereby spurring overall growth and creating opportunities for native-born workers. Moreover, immigrants
are more entrepreneurial than native-born workers, with one study finding that immigrants are more than twice as likely to
start businesses as native-born workers. However, the IPC report suggests that the current US immigration system is
antiquated and not designed to derive maximum economic advantage from the energy and talents of immigrants. Indeed,
many talented foreigners trained at American universities, frustrated by long delays in obtaining visas, are returning home
to start businesses in their home countries - businesses that may one day compete in the global market. The report concludes
with a short section on family-based immigration, which through the social capital of family relationships and networks, also
spurs economic growth.
Immigration Policy and Less-Skilled Workers in the
United States: Reflections on Future Directors for Reform,
Migration Policy Institute,
January 2011, 26 pp
This study by economist Harry J. Holzer, former Chief Economist for the US Department of
Labor, reviews findings from the research literature on the benefits and costs of low-skilled immigration, i.e. immigration
by those with a high school diploma or less. His point of departure is the well-publicized debate between economists
David Card of the University of California and George Borjas of Harvard, who have differed over the extent to which immigrant
workers compete with native-born workers. Holzer finds "limited negative impact" on native-born workers, but somewhat
greater negative impact on earlier cohorts of foreign-born workers. On the other hand, benefits of less-skilled migration
accrue to employers, and to consumers in all income brackets. The paper concludes with some discussion of the implications
of research findings for future immigration reform. Among the author's conclusions: "In all, it is hard to make the case
that the current volume of unskilled immigration to the United States is too high and needs to be sharply curtailed."
Holzer also recommends charging employers who hire less-skilled immigrant workers "some modest fees to offset short-term
fiscal costs," as well as adjusting admission levels based on macroeconomic conditions. He also advocates steps to legalize
the undocumented already in the U.S., while stemming any new unauthorized flows.
The Role of Migrant Care Workers in Ageing Societies:
Report on Research Findings in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and the United States,
IOM International Organization for Migration, 2010, 79 pp.
(There is a separate study on the U.S. alone published in 2009)
This report looks at qualitative and quantitative data from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and the United States,
examining the role played by migrant workers in caring for the elderly. Due to changing demographics, i.e. growth in the aging
populations and a relative decline in the working age populations, compounded by the undervaluing of care work in general,
these developed nations have witnessed rapid growth in the demand for labor within the eldercare market. The report points
to how both skilled and unskilled migrants from developing nations are used to fill labor shortages, along with some of the
policies, conditions, and processes favoring the disproportional employment of foreign-born workers within the care economy.
The report also examines the challenges faced by both employers and migrants in the workplace; for employers, lack of certain
skill sets, limited English proficiency and cultural awareness can all lessen the ability of migrants to connect with the
elderly and perform their jobs effectively; for migrants, discrimination, poor working conditions, and isolation can present
serious problems. The report finds that the four countries under study mostly lack the legal framework needed to ensure a
steady, secure, and quality workforce within the long-term care sector. The authors conclude with a series of policy recommendations,
suggesting that improving conditions and compensation for work in eldercare is essential to retaining quality care whether
provided by migrants or natives. (Dan McNulty)
Ten Economic Facts About Immigration,
The Hamilton Project, Brookings, September, 2010, 16
Seeking "to provide a common ground that all participants in the policy debate (on immigration) can
agree on," the authors provide a succinct and non-technical summary of available research on 10 key economic questions,
including the impact of immigration on the living standards of native-born Americans; gains or losses to federal, state and
local budgets caused by immigration; assimilation trends among immigrants and their children; immigrant contributions to business
formation and patent filing; and whether immigrants disproportionately burden U.S. correctional facilities.
Immigration Myths and Facts,
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, May, 2011, 9 pp.
an effort to counteract misinformation about the impact of immigration on American society, the Chamber's Labor, Immigration
& Employee Benefits Division prepared this pamphlet to "refute seven of the most common myths about immigrants coming
to our country." The pamphlet attempt to "summarize the facts on the relationship of immigrants to Jobs, Wages,
Taxes, Population, Crime, Integration, and Welfare." The Chamber's review "shows that immigrants significantly
benefit the U.S. economy by creating new jobs, and complementing the skills of the U.S. native workforce, with a net positive
impact on wage rates overall."
The Impact of Immigrants in Recession and Economic Expansion,
Migration Policy Institute
(MPI), June, 2010, 23 pp.
Written by Giovanni Peri (University of
California, Davis) for MPI's Labor Markets Initiative, this paper charts the short- and long-term effects of net immigration
on the employment and incomes of native-born workers in the United States. While most economists have shown a positive correlation
over the long-run (say ten years), few have studied the short-term effects. During periods of economic weakness, Peri finds
that net immigration over a one to two year period "seems to crowd out less-educated native workers." In order to
mitigate these negative effects, Peri suggests that our immigration system should be more responsive to labor market conditions.
Peri makes the interesting observation that some degree of adjustment already occurs, but not with family-based migration,
which remains constant even in recessionary times, but in the number of legal and unauthorized immigrants who return to their
countries during periods of recession. Indeed, over the last 20 years, he estimates that on average 1.5% of the foreign born
population, or 600,000 people, has returned to their home countries each year. Admission numbers, he suggests, should be set
to compensate for this loss and with a view toward the long-range benefits of immigration on the economy. Finally, he argues
that a sufficient number of visas, perhaps 40% of the total, should be made available for less-skilled immigrants as they
"appear(s) to bring benefits for the aggregate economy without harming the wages of less-educated natives in the long
"It's Not Just About the Economy, Stupid" - Social Remittances Revisited, The Impact of Immigration and Immigration Reform on the Wages of American Workers,
Migration Policy Institute, May 21, 2010, 6
This short paper explains the concept of social remittances, defined
as the exchange of "ideas, know-how, practice and skills" between immigrants and their home country communities
of origin. Using examples drawn from the experience of Dominican immigrants in Boston, the authors explain that social
remittances can have both positive and negative impacts. The paper concludes with the observation that "migration research
needs to span migrants' origin and destination countries and go beyond economic considerations to include the social and cultural."
New Policy Institute, May, 2010, 22 pp
Written by Dr. Robert
J. Shapiro, a former Undersecretary of Commerce in the Clinton Administration, this report includes a demographic analysis
of the immigrant population in the United States, highlighting occupational niches and educational attainment, and devoting
special attention to the position of the undocumented. The report reviews available studies exploring the economic
impact of immigration, both legal and undocumented, on the incomes of native-born immigrants and on the economy as a whole.
Among findings of note: "undocumented male immigrants have the highest labor force participation rate of any group in
America principally because, compared to the native born, undocumented immigrants are twice as likely to be in households
with spouses and children." According to the author, evidence indicates that comprehensive immigration reform would reverse
any adverse impacts of undocumented immigration on the wages of low-skilled legal workers, both native-born and immigrant.
Across the Spectrum: The Wide Range of Jobs Immigrants Do,Fiscal Policy Institute, April, 2010, 19 pp.
Looking at the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, this report examines the occupational distribution
of immigrants. Analyzing data from the 2006-2008 American Community survey, the researchers find that immigrants are distributed
"surprisingly evenly" across various occupational categories. Indeed, in 13 of the 25 metropolitan areas, there
are more immigrants working in the mostly higher-wage professional or white-collar jobs than in mostly lower-wage service
or blue-collar jobs. However, metropolitan areas with a preponderance of higher skilled immigrants, such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland,
and St. Louis, have lagged in economic performance behind cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Minneapolis, where the majority
of immigrants work in service or blue-collar jobs. Whether low-skilled immigration is a cause or consequence of economic
growth can be debated, but the notion of low-skilled workers as a drag on the economy seems flawed.
Immigration and Wages: Methodological Advancements
Confirm Modest Gains for Native Workers,
Economic Policy Institute, Briefing Paper,
February 4, 2010, 29 pp.
As immigration flows have surged in the U.S. in recent years, there has been great
interest in the labor market impact of immigration on native-born Americans. Although most economists agree that immigration
has had a small but positive impact on the wages of native-born Americans overall, researchers differ as to whether
specific categories of native-born Americans, e.g. those without a high school education, have been adversely affected by
immigration. Looking at data from 1994 to 2007, this study disaggregates the native-born population by age, gender, and education
level, and finds that the positive trend is fairly uniform through all sub-groups of native-born workers. The only group experiencing
a downward trend in wages is earlier immigrants, who presumably compete more directly with newer immigrants. However, the
data doesn't permit a breakdown of the immigrant population by type of status, e.g. undocumented vs. undocumented, or type
of visa, so, as the author acknowledges, key questions remain unanswered by this study.
Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits
of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,
Center for American Progress and Immigration Policy Center, January, 2010, 25 pp.
This paper makes the counter-intuitive argument that the current enforcement-only approach to irregular migration,
has failed to deter illegal migration, "wasted billions of taxpayer dollars," and created "a host of
unintended consequences," including spurring the growth of human smuggling operations, choking off "circular migration,"
and propping up low-wage labor markets "and ironically, creating a greater demand for unauthorized workers." Noting
that Mexico is undergoing "one of the fastest declines in fertility ever recorded in any nation," as evidenced by
the increasing age of apprehended immigrants, the author suggests that population pressure as a driver of migration from Mexico
will likely diminish in the future. The author also reviews research conducted on the economic impact of the 1986 legalization
program; evaluates the economic consequences of three different reform scenarios; and concludes that a comprehensive approach,
providing a pathway to legalization, will "generate an annual increase in U.S. GDP of at least 0.84 percent,"
while "boost(ing) wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers."
Immigrants and the Economy: Contribution of Immigrant
Workers to the Country's 25 Largest Metropolitan Areas,
Fiscal Policy Institute,
December, 2009, 42 pp.
Produced with support from SEIU Local 32BJ, this report finds that immigrants in major
U.S. metropolitan areas contribute to the economy in proportion to their share of the local population. The authors also
observe that "economic growth and growth in the immigrant workforce go hand in hand," although the question
of cause and effect remains unclear. The report also notes that immigrants work in jobs across the economic spectrum
and earn wages that are comparable to native-born workers in most categories. One notable exception is blue collar jobs, where
immigrants earn considerably less. In the service sector, earnings are low both for immigrants and native-born workers.
Even though immigrants make up 20% of all union members in the 25 metro areas, the unionization rate for immigrants is lower
than for native-born workers - 10% compared to 14%. In addressing these problems, the report suggests "setting a higher
standard for the earnings of workers," particularly in the service and blue collar sectors, with obvious implications
for union organizing.
The Economics and Policy of Illegal Immigration in
the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, Labor Markets Initiative, December, 2009, 16 pp.
This paper highlights the importance of unauthorized immigrant workers as
a source of low-skilled labor in the American labor market, especially in the agriculture, construction, food processing,
building cleaning and maintenance sectors. The author reviews the positive and negative impacts of illegal migration on the
American economy and its workers. Observing that such labor was "unofficially tolerated" in the United States
up to 2006, recent efforts to control illegal immigration may be undermined by renewed demand for low-skilled labor during
future periods of economic growth, a demand that cannot be easily satisfied by a better educated and less flexible domestic
labor force. Noting that sufficient legal visas are currently unavailable to satisfy the need for low-skilled workers, the
author suggests that Congress would have to "revamp entirely the manner in which employment visas are allocated"
if it is serious about reducing future illegal inflows.
Tied to the Business
Cycle: How Immigrants Fare in Good and Bad Economic Times
Migration and the
Policy Institute, September, 2009, 127 pp
This report updates an earlier MPI study seeking to gauge the impact
of the global recession on world migration trends. The authors find that people are generally staying put, i.e. not leaving
home countries, nor returning, except paradoxically in certain E.U. countries like Ireland and the United Kingdom, that permit
the free flow of migrants from countries in eastern Europe. In the U.K., for example, almost half the 1.4 million Eastern
Europeans who came during the period between May 2004 and March 2009 have returned. The report notes "a significant deterioration
in immigrant employment rates...across a wide number of countries," including among Mexicans and Central Americans in
the United States. Other sections of the report discuss the internal movement of migrants in countries like China, the results
of "pay-to-go schemes" in countries like Spain and Japan, and trends in remittances.
Human Development Report 2009, Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and Development,
United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 2009, 229 pp.
Since 1992, the UNDP has commissioned
annual Human Development Reports to focus global attention on key development issues. For the first time in its history, UNDP
has chosen to focus its 2009 report on the link between mobility and development. Noting that "conventional approaches
to migration tend to suffer from compartmentalization," the authors view migration in its broadest context, looking at
the roughly 1 billion people who move each year, including the estimated 740 million who are "internal migrants,"
the 214 million who are regular (legal) international migrants, and the 50 million who are irregular international migrants.
So-called "north-south migration," the authors note, is not as prevalent as many think. Nearly half of all international
migrants move within their region of origin and about 40 percent move to a neighboring country. The authors propose a "six-pillar"
package of reforms intended to "maximize the human development impact of migration," including opening up more legal
channels for international low-skilled migration, fewer barriers to internal migration, and ensuring basic rights for migrants
As Immigrants Move In, Americans Move Up,
Free Trade Bulletin No. 38, Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute, July 21, 2009, 9 pp.
by Daniel Griswold, the Director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies, this policy brief argues that there is a causal relationship
between immigration since 1990 and poverty reduction in the United States, particularly among native-born African-Americans.
"For every poor immigrant family we 'imported' during that time, more than three native-born families were 'exported'
from poverty." He also argues that the nature of the "underclass" has changed. "Members of
today's more immigrant and Hispanic underclass are more likely to work and less likely to live in poverty or commit crimes..."
Griswald urges Congress to reject "misguided fears about 'importing povery'" and to "pursue a policy of expanding
legal immigration for low-skilled workers.."
Massachusetts Immigrants by the Numbers: Demographic
Characteristics and Economic Footprint,
The Immigrant Learning Center, June, 2009, 51 pp.
Prepared by researchers at the Institute
for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, this report offers a sweeping view of the immigrant
population in the State of Massachusetts. Unlike other recent state-level reports on immigration, this study digs deeper into
the data by differentiating between "established" and "recent" immigrants, i.e. those in the U.S. less
than 10 years. The report analyzes the educational attainment and occupational profile of immigrants; examines income, sales,
and property tax payments by immigrants; provides data on transfer payments; and reviews rates of immigrant institutionalization
in juvenile facilities, correctional institutions, and nursing homes. Overall, the report paints a favorable picture of immigrant
contributions to the state.
Untying the Knot, Part I, The Unemployment and Immigration
Immigration Policy Center, May, 2009, 12 pp.
Untying the Knot, Part II, Immigration and Native-Born Unemployment Across
Immigration Policy Center, May, 2009, 12 pp.
In this series of special reports, the
Immigrant Policy Center finds no apparent connection between high levels of recent immigration and unemployment. Indeed, there
appears to be an inverse relationship between the two, i.e. in areas with high levels of recent migration, unemployment rates
are lower than in rural areas or in the former great industrial centers of the Midwest, where there are fewer immigrants.
Part II focuses on the impact of immigration on native-born minorities, particularly African-Americans. One noteworthy finding
is that in the ten states with the highest percentages of recent immigrants, the average unemployment rate for native-born
blacks is about 4 percentage points lower than in the 10 states with the lowest percentages of recent immigrants. The
authors conclude that the presence of immigrants is a function of the job-creating strength of the local economy, and that
the causes of unemployment should be sought elsewhere.
Assessing the Economic Impact of Immigration at the State
and Local Level,
Immigration Policy Center, April 28, 2009, 5 pp.
This brief reviews
16 studies completed since 2002 that suggest that immigrants in general - and the undocumented specifically - make a positive
net contribution to state economies, particularly if the lifetime contributions of immigrants are taken into consideration.
Immigrant Workers in the Massachusetts Health Care Industry:
A Report on Status and Future Prospects,
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc., March, 2009,
This report examines
the contribution of immigrants to the Massachusetts health care industry -- "the most important employment sector of
the Massachusetts economy with almost half a million workers." The report treats immigrants not only as a source
of labor in crucial segments of the industry (the quantitative factor) but also as workers skilled in bridging the language
and cultural barriers that often impede the delivery of quality health care to diverse patient populations (the qualitative
factor). In this sense, the authors contend that foreign-born health care workers "add value to the quality of health
care for everyone." In addition, the report notes a strong correlation between the presence of immigrants in local
labor markets and the concentration of health care infrastructure in certain communities. Examining specific occupational
profiles, the authors note that immigrants tend to cluster at the upper end (e.g. 51% of medical scientists and 40% of pharmacists)
and lower end (36% of health technologists and 33% of aides) of the health care employment market in the state. Beyond official
statistics, the report also notes the importance of immigrants in the "gray market" of workers hired directly by
individuals and families. Finally, the report urges public and private investments in workforce development programs
aimed at incorporating foreign-born health care workers into the health care industry and devotes one section of the report
to "promising practices and programs" designed to achieve this goal.
Immigrants and the Current Economic Crisis: Research
Evidence, Policy Challenges, and Implications,
Migration Policy Institute, January,
2009, 31 pp.
This report analyzes available data, including a review of migration patterns during earlier
economic crises, to reach some preliminary conclusions about the impact of the economic downturn on future immigrant inflows
and outflows. Legal immigrants who entered the country on family reunion visas and humanitarian entrants are less likely to
leave the country than irregular migrants, although even the latter have incentives to remain, especially if tightened security
on the southern border prevents their return later and job opportunities become available elsewhere in the United States.
The report finds that low-wage immigrants may be particularly vulnerable to economic hardship, because of their disproportionate
presence in hard-hit industries like construction and their lack of eligibility for safety net services, if undocumented or
in legal status for less that five years.
Estimating the Contribution of Immigrant Business Onwers
to the U.S. Economy,
Office of Advocacy, Small Business Administration, November, 2008,
This study examines how immigrant entrepreneurs contribute to U.S. business ownership, formation, and income. It
includes national and state-level statistics, as well as data by nationality and industry category. Immigrants constitute
12.5% of all business owners in the United States, but more than 20% in the states of California, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey
and New York.
Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the Massachusetts Biotechnology
Immigrant Learning Center in collaboration with researchers at Boston
University, June, 2007, 15 pp.
This report argues that immigrants have been key contributors to the creation of new businesses and intellectual
capital in the Massachusetts biotechnology industry. Among the more noteworthy conclusions are: 25.7 percent of Massachusetts
companies in this industry have at least one foreign-born founder; these companies produced over $7.6 billion in sales and
employed over 4,000 workers in 2006; the founders come from nations across the globe, but with a preponderance from Europe,
Canada or Asia; and the companies are largely involved in developing disease treatments or studying the "map" of
the human genome. The immigrant entrepreneurs, therefore, tend to specialize in the most complex, risky, life science-intensive
aspects of biotechnology to seek knowledge directly applicable to human health.
(Abstract reposted through agreement
with the Immigrant Learning Center and the Immigration Research and Information web site)
Implementation of Diversity Management Programs in Public
Organizations: Lessons from Policy Implementation Research,
Andrew Young School of Policy
Studies, Georgia State University, 2006, 23 pp.
As the U.S. population changes, with more women, ethnic
and racial minorities, and people with disabilities employed in public organizations, the challenge of diversity management
within these organizations takes on increased importance. This paper, written by David W. Pitts, seeks to understand
the impact of personnel diversity on organizational outcomes. The paper discusses the history of diversity policy and
reviews the research bearing upon its effectiveness. The author concludes with five general lessons that can be learned from
the research, namely: ensuring that sufficient resources are dedicated to the effort; clearly defining program components;
framing the initiative in terms of organizational benefit, not individual benefit; maintaining clear and credible communication;
and gaining support from all levels within the organization. Noting the paucity of research on what works (and doesn't)
in diversity management, the paper concludes with a call for further research.
Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Neighborhood Revitalization,
Study prepared for the Immigrant Learning Center by the Mauricio
Gaston Institute and the Institute for Asian American Studies,
University of Massachusetts, Boston, December, 2005, 49
This report examines the impact of immigrant entrepreneurs on three neighborhoods in Boston: Allston Village,
East Boston, and Fields Corner, as well as on the cities of Lawrence and Lowell The study finds that immigrant
entrepreneurs contribute to the economy and quality of life of the neighborhoods they serve in the following ways: reviving
commerce and investment in areas that had declined, providing needed products and services, addressing the particular needs
of distinctive ethnic niches, expanding beyond those niches, incubating new businesses; attracting new customers, providing
some employment opportunities, improving the physical quality and appearance of buildings and surrounding areas, and enhancing
public safety (Abstract reposted through agreement with the Immigration Research and Information web site).