A 2010 Study Debunked One Of America's Biggest Fears About Immigration

Now is probably the perfect time to pass immigration reform, a study from the Migration Policy Institute suggests. 

An article from June 2010 by Giovanni Peri of the University of California Davis found that increased immigration during a recovery creates jobs, leaves native employment unharmed in the short run, and in the long run increases productivity and average income. 

This is an excellent time to revisit this paper, as the recovery has become robust and a bipartisan group of eight Senators have come together on an immigration reform package that will over time increase the number of immigrants and foreign nationals with visas working in the United States. 

Here’s a chart showing how — in the periods of rising immigration from 1994 to 2008 — the years with some of the highest immigration rates were also the years with the highest employment rate:

immigration unemployment

Photo: Migration Policy

Even more, immigration means that native workers see increased employment. The study ran a regression and found the effects of an inflow of immigrants equal to 1 per cent of the total workforce: 

immigration impact on workers

Photo: Migration Policy centre

Since the inflow was an added 1 per cent of immigrants to the workforce, any number greater than 1 means native workers gained jobs as a result of immigration. A number less than one indicates that some native jobs were lost. 

Generally, the findings are that individual native workers are very slightly harmed initially, but enjoy robust benefits between four and seven years

However, looking in aggregate, the economy benefits immensely from immigration, as GDP per worker consistently was found to increase in both the short and long term. 

Read the full paper here

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