In recent years, there has been increased discussion among politicians and pundits of the effect of immigration upon U.S. society and its economy. Researchers have looked into the effects of immigration upon crime and social structure, as well as on economic factors like unemployment, wages and economic growth. From purely an economic standpoint, the complexity of accurately measuring a person’s lifetime economic impact would seem difficult, if not impossible. Some research suggests that overall, immigrants are a net positive on the U.S. economy, while others studies show the opposite. Some studies suggest that legal immigrants are a net positive to the economy while illegal immigrants are net negative to the economy. But the fact that the U.S. economy and the level of government benefits has changed in recent years, as well as the makeup and motivation of recent and potential immigrants, makes it even more difficult to predict immigrants’ future impact on the economy.
David A. Pace, CFA
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