The upcoming presidential election is all but sure to feature immigration reform as a hot button issue. The state of immigration in the U.S. is extremely volatile right now, as President Barack Obama has introduced executive actions to offer amnesty towards many undocumented immigrants currently residing in the country. While the president has been backed by many individuals on the left side of the aisle and made considerable progress in furthering his initiative, he has also seen a great deal of resistance from opponents of reform. A lawsuit has been filed against his orders by a federal judge in Texas, and many Republicans are looking to press heavily on the immigration issue during Obama’s last year in office. While the issue of immigration has to be looked at from many different angles, a recent study has shown a correlation between immigration and the struggling American middle class.
According to The Blaze, the Senate Judiciary Committee was approached this week by the Congressional Research Service regarding new findings on the impact of immigration. In short, the CRS brought research that argued that a correlation exists between the increase in immigration to America and the decrease in the average household income of the middle class annually. In order to determine this, the CRS analyzed the reported wages of the lowest 90 percent of taxpayers from 1970 onward. According to the study, this is because 1970 marks a turning point in U.S. history where the nation began to experience dramatically higher immigration rates than it had before. The reported wages for these individuals were then adjusted for inflation over time, revealing that the average income of the middle class had indeed decreased as immigration rates had risen.
The Latin Post has indicated that the CRS did not present the report with a given analysis or conclusion regarding the data. Nonetheless, multiple sources have indicated that Republicans may use this data to further assert the position that immigration may be detrimental to the American economy. That claim seems to be unfounded, though, as multiple news outlets have also indicated that the study shows only correlation and not causation between the two variables. Indeed, there were certainly other prominent factors that transpired between 1970 and the present day that have had an effect on the shrinking income of the middle class, such as the gradual disappearance of manual labor jobs.
What this means moving forward
While this study may very well be brought up during the electoral debates as election campaigning continues, it may very well have no effect on the continuing battle for comprehensive immigration reform. More than likely, the largest issue that will transpire over the next few months will be the eventual resolution of the federal lawsuit brought against Obama’s executive action. If the lawsuit is found to be valid, then some of those executive orders could potentially be reversed. Assuming that the president’s orders are maintained, though, it could mean a clearer route to American citizenship for undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S.