#325. Immigration Policy = Balance Budget??

Posted on | The Agurban

Immigration Policy = Balanced Budget??

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently posted their 2010 Annual Report, entitled From Brawn to Brains – How Immigration Works for America.  The introduction to the report reads: Immigrants help fuel the U.S. economy, representing about one in every six workers. Because of accelerated immigration and slowing U.S. population growth, foreign-born workers accounted for almost half of labor force growth over the past 15 years. Public attention has focused mainly on the large number of low-skilled immigrant workers, but the number of high-skilled immigrants actually few faster during the period. Highly educated immigrants filled critical jobs in the science, engineering, information technology, and health care sectors as well as fostered innovation and created high-tech businesses.

The report goes on to address the major issues of the U.S. national debt and continuing budget deficits. A study by Kjetil Storesletton in 2000, “Sustaining Fiscal Policy Through Immigration”, showed that a selective immigration policy that admitted 1/6 million high-skilled immigrants age 40-44 years old annually into a hypothetical U.S. style economy with a 50 percent debt-to-GDP ratio, would have balanced the budget within five years and eventually eliminated the national debt.

The report concludes by stating that “Although immigration has played a fundamental role in shaping the U.S., it has always been controversial. In the 19th century, natives agonized over the German influx, then the Irish and then the Chinese. In the 20th century, natives revolted against the waves of southern and eastern Europeans. Immigration laws should be rewritten to focus on economic priorities. These include leveraging high-skilled immigration to build the nation’s human capital base, retain skilled jobs, foster research and development, and bolster competitiveness.”

Immigration policy continues to be debated in the United States. Should immigration laws be rewritten to focus on economic priorities? 

For the complete Federal Reserve Bank report, visit here.