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The Impact of New Americans: A Review and Analysis of the National Research Council's The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, by Steven A. Camarota, Leon F. Bouvier, December 1999

The National Research Council (NRC) in May of 1997 released an extensive study on the impact of immigration on the United States. Entitled The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, the study continues to be influential in the immigration debate. This study revealed that immigration was responsible for 44 percent of the decline in relative wages pared to other workers) for high school dropouts from 1980 to 1994. The wage losses for high school dropouts, which amount to about 5 percent of their income, generate a net gain for more skilled workers and owners of capital of between $1 billion and $10 billion annually - about two tenths of one percent of their income.
 
The net current fiscal burden (taxes paid minus services used) imposed on all levels of government by immigrant households nationally is estimated to range from $11.4 billion to $20.2 billion annually. This fiscal drain is larger than the $1 billion to $10 billion benefit estimated to accrue to natives from having immigrants in the labor market.

Does Immigration Harm the Poor?, by Steven A. Camarota, The Public Interest, Fall 1998

Each year the United States admits between 700,000 and 900,000 legal immigrants; additionally, the Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates that 5 million illegal aliens now live in the country, with 400,000 new illegal aliens settling here annually. This influx of legal and illegal immigration has caused the foreign-born share of the population to double from roughly 5 percent of the population in 1970 to 10 percent today. While less than the 15 percent recorded in 1910, the 27 million immigrants now living in the country is more than twice the 1910 number.
 
A fierce national debate has erupted over the wisdom of allowing in such a large number of people. The most notable recent study of the issue comes from the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council (NRC). Prepared by many of the top economists, demographers and sociologists in the field, the study, The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, contains an extensive analysis of the latest research on the subject as well as a good deal of original work. The media has devoted considerable attention to the study. However, misled by the study's rosy press release, they have claimed that The New American unequivocally confirms the benefits of immigration.
 
The disparity between the study's actual findings and its portrayal in the media caused George Borjas and Richard Freeman, two Harvard economists who helped write the study, to chastise the report's editor, James Smith of Rand, in a New York Times article.

California's Labor Force: Immigration, Fertility, and the Post-industrial Economyby B. Meredith Burke July 1998

California, as the preeminent recipient of both legal and illegal immigrants, has seen a dramatic change in its population in the past 25 years, a change which bodes ill for the future skill level of the labor force. This includes the nativity and consequently the age and educational attainment distributions of the women giving birth in the state. The percentage of Mexican-born mothers with no more than a grade school education was last seen among American-born mothers before the 1920s, nearly four generations ago; the percentage with at least high school completion is equivalent to American mothers in the 1930s. Because Mexican-born women, who bore one quarter of the children born in California in the nineties, exerted the major foreign influence, I will focus on that group in this article.
 
Given the strong parent-child educational attainment link, California's 21st century labor force entrants will include many with parents ill-equipped to foster post-industrial skill levels. The same linkage is already resulting in vastly different educational outcomes among different ethnic/nativity groups, outcomes frequently attributed to bias and discrimination rather than to underlying demographic attributes. Californians can anticipate increased inter-ethnic strife in the ensuing decades and a labor force with large pockets of low-productivity workers. This will continue if not exacerbate current inequalities in income distribution and tax burden distribution.


 

See: Jobs Reports 1 | Jobs Reports 2 | Jobs Reports 3 | Jobs Reports 4

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