Immigrants Make Valuable Contributions to U.S. Economy


economicsNew Report: The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration


President-Elect Trump’s controversial immigration proposals have without a doubt caused many to question the future of immigration policy and the effect it will have on our nation’s immigrant community.   Among those who work closely with immigrants, such as in our immigration law practice, we know that immigration has great power and helps to propel our economy.  That’s why we believe it was very timely that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) published its recent 2016 report, and we share here some of its findings on our blog, as it confirms the positive effects of immigration.

Specifically, the report provides a comprehensive assessment of the impact of immigration on economic and fiscal outcomes for the U.S.  Through extensive data, the report confirms that immigrants make valuable contributions to economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the U.S. and are essentially integral to the nation’s economic growth. At the end of this post, there is a link to the full report (the site will request an email in exchange for a free PDF download of the full report).   We have below summarized some of the major findings of the report.

Impact on Employment, Wages, and the Economy

Effects on wages. When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native workers overall is very small. To the extent that negative wage effects are found, prior immigrants – who are often the closest substitutes for new immigrants – are most likely to experience them, followed by native-born high-school dropouts, who share job qualifications similar to the large share of low-skilled workers among immigrants to the United States.

Role of immigrants in consumer demand. The contributions of immigrants to the labor force reduce the prices of some goods and services, which benefits consumers in a range of sectors including child care, food preparation, house cleaning and repair, and construction. Moreover, new arrivals and their descendants are a source of demand in key sectors such as housing, which benefits residential real estate markets.

Effects on employment levels. There is little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers. Any negative effects were small and were experienced primarily by other recent immigrants and those who did not graduate high school.

Impacts on economic growth. Immigration is integral to the nation’s economic growth. The inflow of labor supply has helped the United States avoid the problems facing other economies that have stagnated as a result of unfavorable demographics, particularly the effects of an aging workforce and reduced consumption by older residents. In addition, the infusion of human capital by high-skilled immigrants has boosted the nation’s capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological change. Research suggests, for example, that immigrants raise patenting per capita, which ultimately contributes to productivity growth. The prospects for long-run economic growth in the United States would be considerably dimmed without the contributions of high-skilled immigrants.

Impact on Federal, State, and Local Budgets

All population subgroups contribute to government finances by paying taxes and add to expenditures by consuming public services—but the levels differ. On average, individuals in the first generation group of immigrants are more costly to governments, mainly at the state and local levels, than are the native-born generations; however, immigrants’ children—the second generation—are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population overall, contributing more in taxes than either their parents or the rest of the native born population.

This outcome is primarily driven by two factors: first, the lower average education level of the first generation translated into lower incomes and, in turn, lower tax payments; second, higher per capita costs (notably those for public education) were generated at the state and local levels because the first generation had, on average, more dependent children than other adults in the population. Today’s immigrants have more education than earlier immigrants, and as a result, are more positive contributors to government finances. If today’s immigrants had the same lower educational distribution as immigrants two decades ago, their fiscal impact, would be much less positive. Thus, the total net fiscal impact of immigrants across all levels of government has become more positive over time.

For more information, a copy of the full report can be downloaded at (note that the site will request an email in exchange for a free PDF download of the full report):

How the United States Immigration System Works

This is not my own post, but it was well researched and written by American Immigration Council.  The article sums up the essence of our immigration system here in the United States.  Since there has been much debate about immigration, in advance of the election, I believe the article provides good information that sets the stage for any intelligent discussion on the issue.

It’s deja vu in Arizona

It only seems like yesterday when Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, signed that state’s notorious anti-immigrant hate bill, S.B. 1070, into law in 2010.  Eventually, most of the law was thrown out by the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v US (2012). Despite this, immigrant-haters continued to try to promote the myth that the real purpose of the Arizona law was to enforce federal immigration laws that were already on the books, but which the Obama administration was allegedly failing in its duty to carry out.

As if it was not clear before, it is now abundantly clear that S.B. 1070, the anti-immigrant hate bill, was never about law-enforcement.    Not giving up on is bigotry, the same Republican-controlled legislature that passed S.B. 1070 in 2010, has now passed an anti-gay bill, S.B. 1062, which would allow businesses to discriminate against anyone for any reason, if such discrimination is allegedly based on religious belief.  While the bill does not expressly single out LGBT people as targets of discrimination (which would make the bill unconstitutional on its face), the intent is obvious.   The current bill is not about protecting religious freedom, any more than S.B. 1070 about enforcing federal immigration laws.  Both measures are about promoting hate, and hate only.

Major companies and institutions (e.g. Apple, Marriott, American Airlines, Intel and the State Super Bowl Committee) have urged a veto, according to news reports.  Click here for the article, “Apple Warns Arizona Governor Anti-Gay Will Hurt Highly Anticipated Sapphire Glass Factory,” February 25.  As of the writing of this, Governor Brewer has not indicated whether she will veto or sign the bill.

Unless bigotry against minority immigrants, such as the anti-Latino hate that is now blocking immigration reform in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, is thoroughly stamped out and eliminated from America’s political life once and for all – just as legalized racial segregation was in the Civil Rights Era – the virus of prejudice and discrimination will continue to spread against American citizens as well.

The battle for immigration reform is also a battle against the wider bigotry that is poisoning so much of American society. This is why immigration supporters must win in the struggle to achieve legalization and eventual citizenship for 11 million mainly Latino and other non-white immigrants, as well as a fairer, more rational, legal immigration system for both employment and family-based immigrants.

The rights of all Americans to be free from prejudice, hatred and discrimination depend on this.

New Law Bans Advanced Fees for Immigration Reform Work

Background:  The Comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”) that has been discussed and analyzed in this past year was passed in the Senate Judiciary committee on June 27, 2013 (S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act).  The House of Representative has been delaying in going to conference on it, and per John Boehner, in a recent comment to the press on November 13, 2013, “[the GOP has] no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.”  There will be no immigration reform this year, or ever, if Boehner has his ways, and especially not one that includes the legalization or citizenship of the 11 million undocumented individuals currently in the United States.  However, GOP is interested in passing piecemeal provisions, such as on border security, and perhaps the DREAM Act (which gives citizenship to kids, under specific circumstances), but they likely cannot pass such proposals without the Democrats.  The Democrats would vote if there is assurance immigration reform will go to conference.  So this is politics.

Bottom Line:  The bottom line regarding CIR is this: there is no CIR. Any attorney, or immigration consultant, or “notarios” (which they are not supposed to be called so), telling you they can help you gain legalization or citizenship through the “the new immigration laws” or “new immigration reform” is not telling you the truth.  Furthermore, the new law recently passed in California by Governor Brown prohibits ANYONE (including attorneys, immigration consultants, or “notarios”) from taking your money in advance so they can allegedly “help” you with your status “when” CIR passes.  There is no CIR, it is not passing any time soon, and current laws prohibit advanced fees for supposed immigration reform work.  The new law also requires that those  attorneys, immigration consultants, or “notarios” who have taken your money in advance account for CIR work, return the money to you, or somehow account for how the money was used for legitimate purpose(s) and put the remainder in a client-trust account.   See the State Bar website for info on this new law.