Experts Say Immigration Boosts Economy

Foreign-born workers are more likely than U.S. natives to lack a high school degree or hold an advanced degree, making to easier for these individuals to get jobs than some native-born workers, according to Bloomberg. Proponents at the forefront of immigration reform note that this increases overall economic growth and lowers unemployment rates.

Between 2009 and 2012, the number of foreign-born workers in the U.S. rose 6.5 percent to 23 million, which compares to the 119.5 million native workers, a 1 percent gain. The skill-sets that immigrants bring to the economy help fill the gaps and increase expansion in already growing industries. Historical evidence and economic theory shows that immigration lifts living standards, boosts productivity and stimulates new investment, according to an article written by Peter Crabb, professor of finance and economics at Northwest Nazarene University, in the Idaho Statesman.

In rapidly growing sectors, immigrants make up a larger share of the workforce, according to research released by the Brookings Institution in March 2012. In the report, the U.S. Department of Labor found that seven out of 15 fields projected to grow the most significantly between 2010 and 2020 had a higher share of immigrant workers than native-born workers. Translators and iron workers were among the professions with high populations of  foreign-born employees.

“What we haven’t really achieved in our system after decades of thinking about this is how to adjust the admissions policy to better suit our economic needs in something closer to real time,” Audrey Singer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Bloomberg. “That is going to be part of the discussion in the next couple of months. Do we make changes based on some market demand, and how do we measure that? Do we set out knowing what we want and then adjust our policies?”