Commentary

Open Letter on Immigration

Alex Tabarrok has written an open letter on immigration that reflects the consensus opinion of economists. Selected bits here:

Overall, immigration has been a net gain for existing American citizens, though a modest one in proportion to the size of our 13 trillion-dollar economy. Immigrants do not take American jobs. The American economy can create as many jobs as there are workers willing to work so long as labor markets remain free, flexible and open to all workers on an equal basis. Immigration in recent decades of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to be small, with estimates of wage reductions for high-school dropouts ranging from eight percent to as little as zero percent. … We must not forget that the gains to immigrants from coming to the United States are immense. Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised. The American dream is a reality for many immigrants who not only increase their own living standards but who also send billions of dollars of their money back to their families in their home countriesââ?¬â??a form of truly effective foreign aid.

And one that doesn’t show up on official tallies of foreign aid. Whole thing here. Alex’s blog partner Tyler Cowen points to papers on Latino assimilation here and here.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.