Immigration Is Good for America. It's a Fact

A line at Pinkberry, which was founded in L.A. by immigrants.
A line at Pinkberry, which was founded in L.A. by immigrants.

There has been a lot of debate about immigration, particularly the illegal, Latino variety. Never mind that last year the Pew Research Center found that "more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession." Never mind that "deportations have reached an all-time high under the current president." And never mind that Pew also found that Asians are "now making up the largest share of recent immigrants." Those aren't facts you'll hear from some presidential candidates.

But while we were busy debunking the very nature of immigration on the political stage, a new report, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, concluded that new people coming to America is a very good thing ... for America.

We know what you're thinking, especially if you're someone who believes this nation needs to be made great again: There are studies on both sides of the political spectrum and, as such, there's a certain equivalency here. You can choose your facts accordingly and still be somewhat intellectually honest.

Consider, however, that this report is not from a partisan think tank. It's from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS), which found that since the beginning of 2015, immigrants have helped our gross domestic product grow by nearly $2 trillion.

While developed nations like the United States and Japan face an aging crisis as a result of lower fertility rates, immigration helps keep America young, the report found. Workforce growth from 2020 to 2030 will "depend completely on immigrants and their U.S.-born descendants," according to NAS.

Wages, the report found, are not affected negatively by the 40 million or so immigrants living here. In fact, any minor effects were experienced mainly by other immigrants or Americans with the lowest levels of education.

Children of immigrants compose one of the nation's most important demographics for economic activity, the report says. While new immigrants pay relatively fewer taxes because they earn less than Americans, their children pretty much make up for it, the researchers found.

Finally, especially in immigrant-rich places such as Los Angeles, immigrants reduce the cost of living by providing services like child care, restaurant work and construction, for less, the report says. You can't really say that about the mostly white, out-of-state transplants who work in Hollywood, benefit from tax breaks and push up housing costs.

The report says about one in four Americans is an immigrant or offspring of an immigrant. But like the government worker who loathes Big Government, sometimes we just hate ourselves. (Donald Trump is the grandson of an immigrant who's married to an immigrant. Discuss.)

"Ultimately the NAS study shows that, even without reforming our outdated immigration system, the contributions of immigrants are overwhelmingly positive and that America’s proud two-century-long tradition of welcoming immigrants is paying off," states the American Immigration Council.

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