Five Thoughts About the Economics of Immigration

  1. 1. In the long run countries that allow healthy levels of immigration are more successful than countries that try to restrict immigration.

  2. 2. The short term costs and benefits of immigration are unevenly distributed in society. The poorest least skilled people are most harmed by increased immigration. The cost to states, counties and cities increases when immigration increases but at the same time the Federal Government benefits.

  3. 3. The argument that immigrants cost too much is as easily applied to children or people moving from another state as it is to immigrants.

  4. 4. The cost of basic services (health care, education and welfare) for undocumented immigrants is a function of an uncontrolled entitlement system. It can't be fixed on the backs of the undocumented who represent less than five percent of our population.

  5. 5. Economics never trumps ethics. The economic arguments for slavery were compelling but they did not win the day against the ethical argument against slavery. The ethical argument for immigration will also win. “Responsible people should have the right to live where they choose.”