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Another study finds immigration critics wrong

A new study finds that temporary work visas allow businesses to grow and hire more American workers, contrary to the arguments of opponents of immigration. Economists say this is the latest in a series of recent studies that demonstrate that the key principle of restricting immigration – that there are only a fixed number of jobs in economics – is based on ignorance of economics.

For more than 100 years, opponents of immigration have advocated the “work mass errora discredited notion that there is a fixed amount of labor needed in an economy. The latest searches by Michael Clemens, economist at the Center for Global Development, and Ethan G. Lewis, associate professor of economics at Dartmouth College, again show that it is wrong to assume that new entrants to the labor market mean fewer jobs for American workers.

H-2B visas are temporary visas for non-agricultural work in landscaping, construction, crab harvesting, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. October 12, 2022to discourage illegal entry and provide more legal workers for employers, the Biden administration, as authorized by Congress, issued 64,716 temporary H-2B visas as of the start of fiscal year 2023. These add to to the regular issuance of 66,000 H-2B visas.

Critics of work visas fail to address the moral dimension of the anti-immigration policy they favour, analysts note, namely that preventing the use of work visas kills people. Without access to legal visas, individuals attempt to enter illegally and often die trying. Since 1998, officially, at least 9,000 immigrants have died trying to cross the US-Mexico border, but the actual number could be twice as high.

Many employers say they couldn’t operate their business and serve their customers without access to H-2B workers. Jack Brooks, owner of JM Clayton Seafood Co. in Maryland, told the Washington Post“We need a long-term solution to survive.”

H-2B workers made up 35% of the 160 employees at the Bar Harbor Inn, Maine, in the summer of 2022. General Manager Jeremy Dougherty told the the wall street journal that even with the extra workers, he struggled to meet the needs of the guests due to severe labor shortages.

In 2020 and 2021, H-2B visas were oversubscribed and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assigned them by lottery. Michael Clemens and Ethan G. Lewis used the lottery and company surveys to examine the impact on companies that received or were denied H-2B workers.

“Our new survey of a sample of businesses that participated in the 2021 lottery reveals little benefit and substantial costs, due to the restriction of business access to these visas,” write Clemens and Lewis. “Comparing companies that were able to hire more workers on these visas to those that were able to hire fewer – by chance – we find that access to immigrant hires increases company revenue . . . and increases also drastically, rather than diminishing, their employment of American workers.

The result is the opposite of what critics of H-2B visas and immigration argue, but it is consistent with other economic research. In February 2022, Madeline Zavodny, professor of economics at the University of North Florida and former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, examined the decline in temporary visas issued due to Covid-19.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a sharp drop in international migration to the United States, but there is no evidence that the entry of fewer foreign workers on temporary visas has improved outcomes for American workers,” he said. concluded Zavodny in a report for the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). “The research examined labor markets where more temporary foreign workers were employed before the pandemic and found that declining H-2B program admissions did not boost labor market opportunities for American workers, but rather aggravated them. The results also do not indicate gains for similar American workers in labor markets that relied more heavily on the H-1B and J-1 visa programs.

Clemens and Lewis conclude that their results are “so uniformly positive” because they suggest “there are simply few substitutes for the work provided by legally authorized low-skilled workers”. They write, “[W]We find that US workers are not substantially replacing foreign workers on H-2B visas. Clemens and Lewis also note that there “appears to be little potential to simply ‘automate’ labor shortages.”

Economists explain that a permanent, higher level of H-2B visas would likely lead to even more positive outcomes for businesses, the US economy and American workers. “Unlike a one-time lottery, from a business perspective, a quota increase equates to a permanent increase in the chances of obtaining an H-2B visa. This would reduce uncertainty and therefore likely lead to larger responses (Ghosal and Loungani 2000). For example, a permanent raise seems likely to induce a greater investment response and (likely) the hiring of full-year employees (we found no answer), which likely complements the hiring of American seasonal workers.

Other recent studies have found that opponents of immigration have consistently made claims about immigrants, the labor market, and integration that are not supported by evidence:

– In a bookconcluded two economics professors from Stanford University (Ran Abramitzky) and Princeton University (Leah Boustan) today’s immigrants assimilate as well as former immigrants, and their children are better off economically than the children of the native-born. In Streets of Gold: The Untold Story of Immigrant Success in AmericaAbramitzky and Boustan write: “The data reveal a different pattern: the children of immigrants from nearly every country in the world, including poorer countries like Mexico, Guatemala, and Laos, are more upwardly mobile than children of US-born residents who were raised in families with a similar income level.

– In a paper for the Center for Migration Research and Analysis at University College London, Michael Clemens found immigrants offer significant tax benefits for American taxpayers. An average recent immigrant without a high school diploma causes a positive lifetime net fiscal balance of $128,000 using the right measure, according to Clemens. “Including the expected children and grandchildren of the average immigrant without a high school diploma, the net positive lifetime tax effect is $326,000.”

– Economist Madeline Zavodny found: “Enrolling more international undergraduate students does not crowd out American students in the average American university and leads to an increase in the number of bachelor’s degrees in STEM majors awarded to American students. NFAP study concluded, “Every 10 additional bachelor’s degrees – in all majors – awarded to international students by a college or university results in 15 additional bachelor’s degrees in STEM majors awarded to U.S. students.”

– Economists Kristin F. Butcher (Wellesley College), Kelsey Moran (MIT) and Tara Watson (Williams College), in to research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), found immigrants help older Americans live independently at home rather than in a retirement home. The study found that a 10 percentage point increase in the population of less-educated immigrants in an area reduces the likelihood of someone 65 or older living in a nursing home or in a nursing home by 29%. other institutional framework. For a person aged 80 or over, a 10 percentage point increase in the less educated immigrant population in a region reduces the probability of institutionalization by 26%.

The consensus on immigration is clear, according to economists. In an article from FinancialTimesMichael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, writes, “In the long run, more immigrants mean more workers, more entrepreneurs, and a more dynamic, faster-growing economy.

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