An economists view of immigration

Alex Tabarrok provides “an open letter on immigration reflecting the consensus opinion of economists on the major issues” addressed to the President.

The point is that “Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised.” The US has not suffered to any measurable degree with the hordes of illegal immigrants and

While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to our economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade in goods and services, the gains from immigration outweigh the losses.

This is a contrast to those who claim that immigrants are expensive in the utilization of social welfare services.

The lesson is that it immigration has many facets. The political corruption in Mexico, organized crime, the terrorist threats, the libertarian ideal of free and open versus national identity and protection, taxes and social benefits and entitlements, language and culture, and on. Any ‘solution’ will have unintended consequence with so many factors interacting. That means care is needed in moving from desire to action.

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