Findings should quell immigration rancor
A study has found no evidence that immigrants take jobs from Americans.
A NEW study knocks down an argument often brought to the debate about immigration -- that foreigners who arrived in the United States in the last 15 years took jobs away from native-born workers.
Though the study could find no evidence to support that assertion, the clash over immigration issues won't be quelled by statistics as long as economic and racial divisions engulf the discussion.
The study, conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, showed that in some states with high immigration rates, such as Texas and Georgia, employment rates were stronger than average, but in others, such as Arizona and Tennessee, rates fell below average.
The nonpartisan research group concluded that there was no clear link between the rise in immigrant populations and a drop in employment for Americans, but that a state's economic strength was more likely the determining factor.
However, some experts contend that such general comparisons do not pinpoint the loss of employment among unskilled and inadequately educated Americans who are most in competition with immigrants for jobs.
The report did not distinguish between illegal immigrants and those who are in the country legally. Nor did it look at the effect of immigrants on wage levels.
Other studies have shown that the availability of immigrant labor has cut wages for high-school dropouts by as much as 8 percent, but at the same time has increased productivity and kept consumer prices down. Still others have found that immigrant labor has had no effect on pay levels, but that the sentiment among less-educated Americans is that it does.
Illegal immigrants and wages have been flashpoints as Congress struggles to come up with a plan for reform of immigration laws. As members campaign for re-election, their postures on the issue lean heavily on public opinion when rational policies are needed.
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