Study: Immigration Good for the Economy
First broad look at topic in nearly 20 years sheds light on subject at forefront of presidential raceJEFFREY SPARSHOTT, Wall Street Journal
Updated Sept. 22, 2016 5:20 p.m. ET
Waves of immigrants coming into the U.S. in recent decades have helped the economy over the long haul and had little lasting impact on the wages or employment levels of native-born Americans, according to one of the most comprehensive studies yet on the topic.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on immigration assesses the economic and fiscal impacts of immigration, offering a broad look at a phenomenon that has moved to the forefront of the presidential race, with both candidates debating the downsides and merits of immigration.
The conclusion runs counter to a popular narrative suggesting that immigrants take the jobs of U.S. citizens, though it does acknowledge some costs for segments of the population. It highlights research showing an influx of lower-skilled workers can lead to lower wages for earlier waves of immigrants and native-born high-school dropouts. And the study found that immigration can burden government finances, especially education budgets at the state and local levels.
The report, citing a lack of data, doesn’t distinguish between the impacts of documented and undocumented immigrants.
The distillation of research and previously unavailable data offer a big-picture view that highlights the overarching benefits of immigration without discounting the dislocation and the fiscal costs associated with illegal and legal arrivals into the U.S.