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It is Immigration That Can ‘Make America Great Again’

February 15, 2017
Plain English Version

Immigrants view the Statue of Liberty while entering New York harbor New York City, around 1910. Photo credit: Edwin Levick/Getty Images)

Immigrants view the Statue of Liberty while entering New York harbor, around 1910. Photo credit: Edwin Levick/Getty Images)

The whole world benefits when people work in places where they can use their skills. Most experts say the free flow of labor adds a great deal to the world economy. This is true for the United States as well.

The trade deal Trump rejected would not have been as good for the U.S. economy as more immigrants would have been. The 26 million foreigners in the U.S. labor force added $2 trillion to the U.S. economy last year.

Movement of people from poor countries to rich countries helps both. Workers are a greater force than trade deals and the value of capital as it flows around the world. It is clear that workers do better here in the U.S. Some experts think that the wages of workers in poor countries would begin to rise in response if the best workers migrated to other countries.

In short, the world, including America, would be richer.

What about the workers who compete with the newcomers? A study looked at the ten million American high school dropouts. On average, they lost less than $900 a year as a result of competition from migration workers. New tax credit policies could help the dropouts. Better training programs will help.

Experts say you cannot let everyone into the U.S. who wants to come. There are too many of them. But even a small percent could make America far more wealthy. One idea is to create a larger guest worker program. For example, a five-year guest worker program could be created with no path to citizenship. These workers could be tracked to make sure they return home. Going home with the skills and experience gained in the U.S. will enrich the countries that sent them.

Migration and immigration are bad words today. Most people in most countries do not want more people. The question remains: How do economies grow? They grow when more people work and have money to spend.

The high end for immigrants is Silicon Valley. The home of the new digital economy. The lower end may be the Salinas Valley. The area called “America’s salad bowl.” Immigrants play a great role in both places.

Source: The New York Times February 7, 2017

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