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Study Says: Immigrants Are More a Solution Than a Problem

September 23, 2016
Plain English Version
New Americans taking the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

New Americans taking the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Do immigrants take jobs away from Americans? Do they lower wages? These are frequent questions.

A new study set out to answer these questions. It looked at changes over a long period. The answers are a little yes and a little no.

Here are the main findings:

  • Immigrant workers do not lower wages for native-born workers. They did not take away their jobs.
  • Newer immigrants did work for less than immigrants who came earlier.
  • Immigrants with skills create more jobs for Americans.

The study also looked at the cost of immigrants.

  • Services to new immigrants have a cost. It is more the newcomers can contribute in taxes and other spending. Schooling is one example.
  • When the first generation of immigrant children grow up, it changes.  They contribute more than the services they consume.
  • When the second generation of immigrant children grow up, it changes even more.  They contribute far more than the services they consume.

The report concluded with three positive findings. Immigrants bring new ideas. They add to a labor force that otherwise would get smaller without them. They are part of the growth of America.

Why does this study matter now? The candidates for president have two different views of immigrants. Donald Trump wants to crackdown on undocumented workers.

Hillary Clinton says immigrants, whether documented or not, contribute to the economy. She wants them to have legal status.

An important value of the study is that it looks at immigration over a long period of time.

Immigration is a big issue. Many say America should control who comes into the country.

The recession of 2008 was painful. Donald Trump is using their pain in his campaign. He says immigrants are the problem. This report undermines his view. It says that only the most skilled immigrants compete against Americans.

Source: The New York Times September 22, 2016

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