Experts: Allowing More Migrants into the US Could Benefit Economy, but Passing Immigration Bill Unlikely

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The benefits of immigration are often hidden and diffuse, while the negative impacts are more visible.

Migrants into the US Could Benefit Economy
Migrants into the US Could Benefit Economy ( Photo: PBS )

Implementing an immigration policy that allows more migrants to legally enter and work in the United States could have positive effects on the country’s economy

The decision of migrants to leave their home countries is driven by political, social, and economic factors that cannot be easily resolved by the US. In May, the Biden Administration lifted the Title 42 provision that had halted immigration in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, returning to Title 8 with some recent amendments.

High-skilled migrants contribute to the economy by paying taxes, generating demand for goods and services, and accelerating innovation. Low-skilled migrants fill labor shortages in sectors such as agriculture, nursing homes, child care, and cleaning services. Legal immigration is preferable to illegal immigration as it raises wages, increases tax contributions, and allows immigrants to invest in skills and education.

Critics argue that Americans are not interested in certain jobs, but raising wages to attract American workers could lead to higher consumer prices and the substitution of local products with imports. While immigration can strain states’ fiscal expenditures on social services, a comprehensive federal immigration policy could address these challenges by redistributing income and investing in programs like food stamps.

The chances of passing an immigration bill in Congress are currently low due to differing opinions and the tradition of unlimited debate in the Senate

The debate primarily revolves around border security and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants. Finding common ground on border security is more feasible, but disagreements arise over the level of restriction.

Some Democrats may be reluctant to support less restrictive policies to maintain their image with voters. If Democrats can create a package of immigration proposals that appeases both sides and the filibuster is removed, there may be a possibility of passing a new immigration policy in two years, particularly if the Democrats gain control of both the House and the Senate.

 

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