Illegal immigration in the US

Illegal immigration in the US Illegal immigration in the US - Start

2016-04-04 53K 53 0 0


Gordon Hanson. UC San Diego & National Bureau of Economic Research. Consensus on immigration?. “We need immigration reform that will secure our . borders and bring . the 12 million people . here . ID: 273983 Download Presentation

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Illegal immigration in the US

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Illegal immigration in the US

Gordon Hanson

UC San Diego & National Bureau of Economic Research


Consensus on immigration?

“We need immigration reform that will secure our borders and bring the 12 million people here illegally out of the shadows. We must assert our values, as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.” Barack Obama, June 28, 2008  “America’s immigration system is outdated, unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people…” George W. Bush, February 2, 2005



1. Illegal immigrants are a large part of the unskilled US labor force



2. Illegal immigration responds to market conditions in ways that legal immigration presently cannot



3. The overall impact of illegal immigration on the US economy appears to be small

Short-run net income gain is ~0.03% of US GDP“Immigration surplus” (productivity gain to business)Short-run net fiscal cost is ~0.10% of US GDPPublic services used by immigrants less taxes paidNet impact is -0.07% of GDP (close to a wash)



4. Enforcement against illegal immigration is costly (relative to gains from eliminating illegal entry)


US enforcement budget: $15bn

(20,000 BP agents)


A guide for immigration reform

Enforcement only would be expensiveAnd may cost more in terms of extra resources than it would yield in fiscal savings to the US economyLegal low skilled immigration could pay for itselfThe US could offset the fiscal expense of low skilled immigration by increasing entry fees (with legal flows)Flexible visa supplies would enhance efficiencyLow skilled immigration helps US employers more when it is allowed to fluctuate with the business cycle





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