On August 2, President Trump provoked another media meltdown by endorsing the RAISE Act, an immigration reform bill sponsored by senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue.

If passed, the RAISE Act would cut legal immigration to America by up to fifty percent, and break the cycle of chain migration by giving priority to immigrants with in-demand skills.

Predictably, this has sparked outrage — but not just from the left. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, says that “limiting immigration to the U.S. is a grave mistake” and that “the only way to meaningfully increase U.S. economic growth on a sustained basis anytime soon is to increase immigration.”

Many Americans, even those who support the RAISE Act, agree with Zandi regarding its economic impact. However, they are mistaken: the preponderance of evidence suggests that while immigration may grow the economy, it does not improve it on a per-capita basis. Simply put: mass immigration increases the size of the pie, but not the slices.

A number of comprehensive studies examined the link between immigration and economic growth.  In America, one of the most thorough was a 642-page study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The study found that immigration negatively impacted the wages and employment prospects of American citizens, particularly for the working class. This is not surprising, since more workers means more competition for employment, and therefore lower prices (wages). This is basic supply and demand. However, the study does go on to conclude that immigration has benefited America in the long run, because second-generation immigrants tend to do better than their non-immigrant peers. The takeaway point: the benefits of immigration are not as clear-cut as we are led to believe.

Studies conducted in other western nations are more clear-cut. For example, a public study conducted by Denmark’s Ministry of Finance recently found that immigrants, particularly those from beyond Europe, were a net drain on the nation’s economy. In fact, non-European immigrants, and their descendants, consumed 59% of the tax surplus collected from native Danes. This is not surprising, since some 84% of all welfare recipients in Denmark are immigrants or their descendants. The bottom line: immigration is a net burden on Denmark.

Another study, this time conducted by the Fraser Institute, found that immigration costs Canadian taxpayers some $24 billion per year — and this was using data from nearly a decade ago. The number has since increased significantly, as Canada has one of the highest immigration rates, adjusted for population, of any western nation. The details are not worth delving into, but suffice it to say that this simply adds more evidence atop the mounting heap.

The final study worth mentioning comes out of the UK, and was conducted by the University College of London. The report found that the value of immigration to the economy was contingent upon where said immigrants came from. This may not be politically correct (no fact is), but it conforms to the data from Denmark. The study looked at the labor government’s mass immigration push between 1995 and 2011. They found that immigrants from the European Economic Area made a small but positive net contribution to the British economy of £4.4 billion during the period. However, during the same period non-European immigrants (primarily from South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa) cost the British economy a net £120 billion. Basically, the type of immigrant matters.

Taken together, the studies show that immigration does not cause economic growth. At best, mass immigration is a relatively benign force, while at worst it is devastatingly expensive.

Going back to the RAISE Act. It will benefit America’s economy in two major ways: 1) it will reduce the overall level of immigration significantly, and 2) it will better calibrate the type of immigrant coming to America. Regarding the first point: reducing the overall level is important because America’s economy does not need additional labor: the labor market is already over-saturated as it is. Basically, unemployment is high and there is no sense in adding fuel to the fire. Furthermore, fewer immigrants will help improve working condition and wages for American citizens. This has already begun in a few locations (albeit for different reasons) — the logic is sound and empirically valid.

As for the second point: the RAISE Act will ensure that America gets high-quality, skilled immigrants, by prioritizing people with economical skills. These are the type of immigrants who are most likely to help grow the economy in the long run — the type of immigrants America should have been targeting for decades. All things considered, the RAISE Act is precisely what America needs to get its economy back on track.

Spencer P Morrison is a JD candidate, writer, and independent intellectual with a focus on applied philosophy, empirical history, and practical economics. Author of America Betrayed and Editor-In-Chief of the National Economics Editorial.

On August 2, President Trump provoked another media meltdown by endorsing the RAISE Act, an immigration reform bill sponsored by senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue.

If passed, the RAISE Act would cut legal immigration to America by up to fifty percent, and break the cycle of chain migration by giving priority to immigrants with in-demand skills.

Predictably, this has sparked outrage — but not just from the left. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, says that “limiting immigration to the U.S. is a grave mistake” and that “the only way to meaningfully increase U.S. economic growth on a sustained basis anytime soon is to increase immigration.”

Many Americans, even those who support the RAISE Act, agree with Zandi regarding its economic impact. However, they are mistaken: the preponderance of evidence suggests that while immigration may grow the economy, it does not improve it on a per-capita basis. Simply put: mass immigration increases the size of the pie, but not the slices.

A number of comprehensive studies examined the link between immigration and economic growth.  In America, one of the most thorough was a 642-page study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The study found that immigration negatively impacted the wages and employment prospects of American citizens, particularly for the working class. This is not surprising, since more workers means more competition for employment, and therefore lower prices (wages). This is basic supply and demand. However, the study does go on to conclude that immigration has benefited America in the long run, because second-generation immigrants tend to do better than their non-immigrant peers. The takeaway point: the benefits of immigration are not as clear-cut as we are led to believe.

Studies conducted in other western nations are more clear-cut. For example, a public study conducted by Denmark’s Ministry of Finance recently found that immigrants, particularly those from beyond Europe, were a net drain on the nation’s economy. In fact, non-European immigrants, and their descendants, consumed 59% of the tax surplus collected from native Danes. This is not surprising, since some 84% of all welfare recipients in Denmark are immigrants or their descendants. The bottom line: immigration is a net burden on Denmark.

Another study, this time conducted by the Fraser Institute, found that immigration costs Canadian taxpayers some $24 billion per year — and this was using data from nearly a decade ago. The number has since increased significantly, as Canada has one of the highest immigration rates, adjusted for population, of any western nation. The details are not worth delving into, but suffice it to say that this simply adds more evidence atop the mounting heap.

The final study worth mentioning comes out of the UK, and was conducted by the University College of London. The report found that the value of immigration to the economy was contingent upon where said immigrants came from. This may not be politically correct (no fact is), but it conforms to the data from Denmark. The study looked at the labor government’s mass immigration push between 1995 and 2011. They found that immigrants from the European Economic Area made a small but positive net contribution to the British economy of £4.4 billion during the period. However, during the same period non-European immigrants (primarily from South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa) cost the British economy a net £120 billion. Basically, the type of immigrant matters.

Taken together, the studies show that immigration does not cause economic growth. At best, mass immigration is a relatively benign force, while at worst it is devastatingly expensive.

Going back to the RAISE Act. It will benefit America’s economy in two major ways: 1) it will reduce the overall level of immigration significantly, and 2) it will better calibrate the type of immigrant coming to America. Regarding the first point: reducing the overall level is important because America’s economy does not need additional labor: the labor market is already over-saturated as it is. Basically, unemployment is high and there is no sense in adding fuel to the fire. Furthermore, fewer immigrants will help improve working condition and wages for American citizens. This has already begun in a few locations (albeit for different reasons) — the logic is sound and empirically valid.

As for the second point: the RAISE Act will ensure that America gets high-quality, skilled immigrants, by prioritizing people with economical skills. These are the type of immigrants who are most likely to help grow the economy in the long run — the type of immigrants America should have been targeting for decades. All things considered, the RAISE Act is precisely what America needs to get its economy back on track.

Spencer P Morrison is a JD candidate, writer, and independent intellectual with a focus on applied philosophy, empirical history, and practical economics. Author of America Betrayed and Editor-In-Chief of the National Economics Editorial.



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