Friday, February 13, 2009

The Real Economics of Immigration Reform

By ignoring the role of immigration policy in our economic situation, Americans are actually hurting themselves

by: Cristina Jimenez, The American Prospect
February 12, 2009
Shortly after the November election, a few congressional offices privately acknowledged that it would be smart for the Obama administration to try to include pro-immigration provisions in the upcoming stimulus package. Some policy staffers were reading studies and hearing testimonies about how hardworking immigrants drive productivity and job creation across many different sectors of the economy. But as the stimulus bill gets finalized in conference this week and heads to Obama's desk for a signature, immigration will be debated only in the narrow terms of E-verify, the Bush-mandated system that all businesses benefiting from the stimulus may be required to use to verify the immigration status of their employees.

What more can we expect? After all, immigration reform is a tougher sell in a recession. That's the blunt observation Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib recently offered: "Pushing any kind of immigration reform, particularly one that includes a path toward legalization, is a lot harder in an environment in which Americans are losing jobs." [...]

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