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Getting the Economy Right Means Getting Pro-Immigrant Reforms Right, Too

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Washington, DC – Last week, we highlighted a range of voices stating that getting our economy right means getting immigration reform right and decrying the toll of GOP nativism on our economic potential. More observers and experts, including heavy-hitters from the Federal Reserve Board, continue to make the same case, calling for reforms to increase and streamline immigration channels devastated under the previous President. These economic experts and others embrace reforms that would legalize undocumented workers already in the U.S. and allow more of the future immigrants who are coming to do so with visas:

Bloomberg News’ Ana Monteiro writes, “Fed Officials Say Higher Immigration Could Ease U.S. Labor Shortage”:

“Immigration, which slowed during the pandemic, could help ease a shortage of workers in the U.S. that’s pushed job vacancies to an all-time high, according to policy makers at the Federal Reserve.

While it remains a hot-button political topic in the U.S. — with some arguing that immigration comes at the expense of American jobs — two regional Fed presidents are making the case this month that it all boils down to ‘math.’

Richmond Fed chief Thomas Barkin and Minneapolis’s Neel Kashkari said that allowing more workers to come from overseas would help to ease the pinch caused by an aging population.

… ‘This is math,’ he [Kashkari] told a virtual gathering hosted by the Wisconsin Bankers Association. ‘You could either just accept slow growth, you could do what Japan does and subsidize fertility — pay families to have more kids — it doesn’t work, by the way. Or you could embrace immigration. That’s it. Those are your three choices and that’s just math.’”

Writing for the Dallas Morning News, Dianne Solis reports, “As labor shortages deepen, bosses ask, ‘Where are the immigrant workers?’”

“The pandemic hammered the U.S. economy, revealing serious labor shortages. Now economists are highlighting a major factor: disappearing immigrant workers, both undocumented and with visas.

… ’This is bad for Texas’ economy, just like it’s bad for the economy in every other part of the United States,’ said Alex Nowrasteh, director of policy and economic studies at the libertarian-centric Cato Institute. ‘People fuel economic growth and without more people, our economy is going to stagnate and eventually shrink.’

… Giovanni Peri, director of the Global Migration Project at the University of California, Davis, estimates that 2 million immigrant workers are missing from the U.S. economy. He and other experts say the labor shortage has several causes: a decline in immigration, accelerated retirements and what many call the Great Resignation, where workers job hop for better wages or sit out the pandemic for months.”

A recent Axios story by Emily Peck, “America’s labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic,” notes in part:

“Unless there is policy intervention, there will still be a shortage of immigrant workers, which holds back other parts of the economy. ‘We have lost two years of immigration and there is nothing in our system that allows us to catchup,’ says Giovanni Peri, an economist at University of California, Davis, who calculated the 2 million number with a colleague.

Immigrants workers could help alleviate shortages in a range of industries, including child care. More child care workers would have downstream effect on working mothers and older women, who’ve stepped out of work to help with grandchildren’s child care.”

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice,

The GOP can’t be both anti-immigrant and pro-economic growth. Republicans continue to put nativism and ugly anti-immigrant politics ahead of America’s economic interests, blocking reforms to legalize undocumented essential workers who have helped keep our economy going and embracing draconian slashes to legal immigration channels. President Biden and Democrats must use every tool at their disposal to help the country and our economy by legalizing immigration, both for the immigrants already here and for those coming to help our economy in the future. Immigration is America’s not-so-secret superpower. To get our economy right, we need to get immigration right.