Immigrants and the Economy

February 24, 2017 • Volume 27, Issue 8
Do they help spur growth?
By Micheline Maynard


Workers at Morning Glory Diner in Philadelphia (Getty Images/Jessica Kourkounis)
Workers at Morning Glory Diner in Philadelphia, many Latino, skipped work on Feb. 16, 2017, to join the nationwide “Day Without Immigrants” campaign dramatizing immigrants' importance to the economy. President Trump's crackdown on immigration, including his proposal to build a wall on the Mexican border and deport undocumented immigrants, spurred the protests. (Getty Images/Jessica Kourkounis)

President Trump's vows to protect American jobs and improve national security by tightening U.S. borders are intensifying the debate over immigration's impact on the economy. Many politicians and workers argue that immigrants — legal and illegal — undercut wages and take jobs from native-born workers. They also contend undocumented immigrants burden society with welfare, medical and education costs. Immigration advocates respond that newcomers bring badly needed skills to the American economy, especially in the technology sector, where half the leaders of billion-dollar Silicon Valley companies are immigrants. Advocates also say immigrants often fill low-wage jobs short on workers, from home building to landscaping and dishwashing. Many experts fear the heated debate over immigration may cause the world's most talented young people to avoid studying at American universities or moving to the United States. Meanwhile, “Dreamers” — children brought to the United States illegally — are nervously waiting to learn whether the administration will allow them to stay in this country.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Immigration and Naturalization
Mar. 19, 2021  Immigration Overhaul
Feb. 24, 2017  Immigrants and the Economy
Sep. 02, 2016  U.S.-Mexico Relations
Oct. 23, 2015  Immigrant Detention
Sep. 27, 2013  Border Security
Mar. 09, 2012  Immigration Conflict
Dec. 2010  Europe's Immigration Turmoil
Sep. 19, 2008  America's Border Fence
Feb. 01, 2008  Immigration Debate Updated
May 04, 2007  Real ID
May 06, 2005  Illegal Immigration
Jul. 14, 2000  Debate Over Immigration
Jan. 24, 1997  The New Immigrants
Feb. 03, 1995  Cracking Down on Immigration
Sep. 24, 1993  Immigration Reform
Apr. 24, 1992  Illegal Immigration
Jun. 13, 1986  Immigration
Dec. 10, 1976  Illegal Immigration
Dec. 13, 1974  The New Immigration
Feb. 12, 1964  Immigration Policy Revision
Feb. 06, 1957  Immigration Policy
Nov. 27, 1951  Emigration from Europe
Feb. 09, 1945  Immigration to Palestine
Sep. 30, 1940  Forced Migrations
Apr. 18, 1939  Immigration and Deportation
Jul. 27, 1931  Deportation of Aliens
Mar. 12, 1929  The National-Origin Immigration Plan
Aug. 19, 1927  Immigration from Canada and Latin America
Nov. 01, 1926  Quota Control and the National Origin System
Jul. 12, 1924  Immigration and its Relation to Political and Economic Theories and Party Affiliation
Bilingual and Multicultural Education
Crime and Law Enforcement
Diversity Issues
Domestic Issues
Equal Employment Opportunity & Discrimination
Outsourcing and Immigration
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean
Small Business
Work and the Family