Immigration

IMMIGRATION….Knight Ridder’s Kevin Hall provides a sensible take on the economic impact of immigration:

“The consensus view is it is a net benefit to the country,” said Tim Jim Smith, a senior economist and immigration expert at the Rand Corp., a research center in Santa Monica, Calif.

….Yet while immigration is a net economic benefit, it’s one so modest that Smith cautioned that it “would not be on my top 10 list” of what’s driving the U.S. economy.

Harvard University economist George Borjas recently published a study on the economic effects of immigration. He thinks the costs and benefits are a wash. Small gains to the broader economy are offset by social and fiscal costs such as providing health care to poor immigrants and schooling children who don’t speak English.

“It would not be farfetched to say there would be zero gain from this,” he said in an interview.

There’s more, but this seems to be a fair summary. Immigration has some modest benefits and some modest costs, and overall is probably a small net positive in the short term and a larger net positive in the long term. At worst it’s a wash.