WSJ: We Need an Immigration Stimulus


On Monday, the Wall Street Journal published a great op-ed on why immigration reform is even more important during the current economic crisis.

…the debate on immigration reform beginning this week with congressional hearings that include an appearance by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. President Barack Obama says he wants to address the issue by the end of the year.

It usually pays to be skeptical about immigration reform, given the alliance between nativists and labor unions for tighter borders. Still, an economic downturn is the right time to move on immigration, one of the few policy tools that could clearly boost growth.

The pace of lower-skilled migration has slowed due to higher unemployment. This could make it less contentious to ease the path to legalization for the 12 million undocumented workers and their families in the U.S. It’s also a good time to ask why we turn away skilled workers, including the ones earning 60% of the advanced degrees in engineering at U.S. universities. It is worth pointing out the demographic shortfall: Immigrants are a smaller proportion of the U.S. population than in periods such as the late 1890s and 1910s, when immigrants gave the economy a jolt of growth.

It is important that the American public understands the connection between immigration reform and our nation’s economic recovery. If you need more proof, tune into the Senate Judiciary hearing tomorrow on immigration reform and hear it straight from the mouth of Alan Greenspan.

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