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Immigration Reform

Eakinomics: Immigration Reform

Today I will be testifying at the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing by the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety regarding the desirability of the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act. You can find out more about my views after the hearing when my testimony is publicly available, but there are two things to point out at this juncture.

First, I am pleased that the Senate is actively considering reform legislation. Hopefully this will stimulate better understanding of the role of immigration in the U.S. economy and the opportunities that come with immigration reforms. It is also an opportunity to correct some of the myths surrounding immigrants in the United States.

To these ends, AAF has launched “Immigration Opportunity: Facts, Myths, and Reforms.” This is a concise collection of four topics – The U.S. Growth Problem, Debunking Immigration MythsEconomic Benefits of Immigration, and Pro-Growth Immigration Reform – and a video. We expect to add more videos over the weeks to come. If you want to get smart on the big-picture issues regarding the economics of immigration, this is one-stop shopping.

The second point worth making is that the hearing is focused on legalization (of essential workers). Certainly, the issue of the undocumented is an important part of immigration reform, but if it were up to me I’d start with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) population (“the Dreamers”). Of the economic issues surrounding immigration reform, I’d say legalization of essential workers is fairly minor. And there are more aspects to real immigration reform that are not addressed in this bill: internal enforcement, border security, and visa reforms to support faster economic growth.

The 2021 immigration reform debate is just beginning. Let us hope that Congress takes advantage of this opportunity.

Disclaimer

Fact of the Day

As of May 5, the Federal Reserve’s assets stand at $7.8 trillion.