Immigration Reform Imperative for Economic Growth

Lee Doren, 202-331-2259

Nicole Ciandella, 202-331-2773

Washington, D.C., July 26, 2011 — The Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security held hearings today highlighting the economic importance of immigration reform. The economic benefits of immigration are underappreciated according to Policy Analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Alex Nowrasteh.

“Removing barriers to legal immigration would be an enormous benefit to our economy,” said Nowrasteh. “Immigrants of all skill levels, from the highly skilled to the lower skilled, create jobs and economic opportunities for Americans.”

In a recent report published by CEI, Nowrasteh highlights the enormous benefits of highly skilled immigrants:

“Highly skilled immigrants and workers are typically well educated, English speaking, and young.  They are well paid, do not take many government benefits, and are not prone to criminality.” “Because the skills of highly skilled foreigners are different from Americans, there is little direct competition between them and natives. In fact, they work well together and increase productivity.”

The hearings today invited experts and industry representatives to testify on the benefits of immigration. “Creating legal pathways to immigration like our ancestors enjoyed would quickly make the unauthorized immigration problem evaporate. The goal of any sensible immigration reform should be to increase legal immigration of non-violent and healthy people. Restrictions should be only limited to accessing the welfare state, legitimate security, and health concerns,” said Nowrasteh.  “Recognizing that immigration is a net economic benefit is the first step toward taking real reform.”