Immigration as a Boost to the Economy?
The high-immigration lobby has begun churning out reports on how increased immigration can benefit the economy. Typical of these reports is one by Jack Strauss, a Saint Louis University economist. He asserts that he has found a key to growth for St. Louis. His study claims to show a direct correlation between an increasing immigrant population and economic growth. According to St. Louis Public Radio,“…he thinks it is likely that the city’s economic slump is partly due to a dwindling number of immigrants living in the area.” The immigrant share is reported to be 4.5 percent.Besides being factually wrong – the foreign-born population share of the city was 7.2 percent in 2010 and had grown to more than 23,000 persons from 19,542 in 2000 – the claimed benefit from more immigrants implies that those foreigners might be more productive than American workers. But, the productivity of American workers is what has allowed us to maintain a high-wage economy. The only other explanation for an economic boost from foreign workers would be that they could be hired for lower wages thereby yielding greater competitive advantage and profits over competitors who relied on higher wage-earning U.S. workers. That strategy would have obvious negative social consequences for America.
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