"Immigration Hurts U.S. Workers and Local Economies."
Most studies suggest the opposite. Nearly all economists agree that immigration helps the U.S. economy overall. Where the debates begin is how these benefits are distributed -- who wins and who loses. The most careful studies show that women, those with college degrees, and those with any advanced education (degree or not) come out ahead, even if they live in areas with high levels of immigration. U.S.-born men with a high school degree or less fare worse, though the average effect amounts to only a few dollars a week (some 1 percent of total wages). Those hit hardest are other immigrants, who directly compete with newcomers. In economic parlance, U.S.-born workers of almost all stripes tend to "complement" rather than "substitute" for immigrants.
Studies also find that restrictive immigration laws -- such as those passed in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina -- hurt local workers and local economies. By scaring away immigrants, not only do farms and factories suffer, but so do main street businesses and public tax rolls, as restaurants, grocery stores, malls, and laundromats sit empty. A study out of the University of Alabama estimates the state's annual GDP may shrink by up to $11 billion or 6 percent in the wake of its reforms. Others find similar economic effects when conducting state-level estimates of deporting unauthorized immigrants in Arizona and California. More broadly, reports by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and Brookings Institution find that restrictive immigration laws actually reduce the number of jobs in local economies by shrinking both production and the local consumer base.
Other studies show that it is the illegal aspect -- not immigration per se -- that hits lower-skilled U.S. born workers the hardest. The vulnerable nature of these immigrants allows unprincipled employers to underpay and underprotect their employees. If these immigrants were legalized, wages for all workers on the lower skilled rungs would rise.
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