Monday, January 5, 2015

Does Immigration Harm Working Americans?

The Atlantic has a provocative new article: Does Immigration Harm Working Americans? The subtitle: "Many economists say no—but they may be too glib."

The article, authored by senior editor David Frum, draws from data published by the conservative think tank Center for Immigration Studies. The CIS data, Frum states, shows that

1.5 million fewer native-born Americans are working than in November 2007, the peak of the prior economic cycle. Balancing the 1.5 million fewer native-born Americans at work, there are 2 million more immigrants—legal and illegal—working in the United States today than in November 2007. All the net new jobs created since November 2007 have gone to immigrants. Meanwhile, millions of native-born Americans, especially men, have abandoned the job market altogether. The percentage of men aged 25 to 54 who are working or looking for work has dropped to the lowest point in recorded history.

Frum goes on to question the assumptions underlying economic models that would counter this data to say immigrants do not take jobs of American-born citizens. In particular, he challenges the idea of complentarity, which views immigrant labor as complementing (not competing with) native-born labor.

It's an interesting read for anyone drawn to the financial side of immigration.


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Frum is not an economist, and he is pretty conservative. (And a native Canadian; he just naturalized in 2007.) I think he is trying to dress up his cultural hesitations about immigration with right-leaning financials.

Posted by: | Jan 5, 2015 9:45:43 AM

In my experience, the Center for Immigration Studies has a consistently restrictionist bent to its studies and reports.

Posted by: Immigration Prof | Jan 9, 2015 7:45:02 AM

Since when is the Center for Immigration Studies "conservative"? CIS was founded by John Tanton, an environmentalist with a population reduction obsession, who also has deep ties to Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, and Zero Population Growth, hardly conservative organizations. In truth, the anti-immigrant organizations founded by John Tanton all have population reduction via immigration restriction as their core agenda. After failing in a hostile takeover of the Sierra Club, Tanton turned to co-opting conservatives with different messaging, but the same agenda.

In "Hijacking Immigration", conservative leader Mario Lopez does a good job of exposing John Tanton as a faux conservative.

Posted by: A Facebook User | Feb 11, 2015 11:13:43 AM

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