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Immigrants Create U.S. Jobs

December 16, 2011

Yesterday the Partnership for a New American Economy and the American Enterprise Institute released a report on the impact of immigrants in the economy. The report cites 4 main findings:

1. Immigrants with advanced degrees boost employment for US natives. This effect is most dramatic for immigrants with advanced degrees from US universities working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

2. Temporary foreign workers—both skilled and less skilled—boost US employment.

3. The analysis yields no evidence that foreign born workers, taken in the aggregate, hurt US employment.

4. Highly educated immigrants pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

. . .

The key takeaway is that bringing in more highly skilled workers will create American jobs.

 The press release accompanying the report goes on to detail the findings.

One of the definitive findings is that immigrants with advanced degrees boost employment for native U.S. workers. This effect goes beyond just the 2.62 jobs for every STEM worker with an advanced degree from U.S. universities:  An additional 100 immigrants with advanced degrees working in STEM fields—regardless of where they earned the degree—creates an additional 86 jobs for U.S. natives.  And an additional 100 immigrants with advanced degrees—regardless of field or where they obtained their degrees—creates an additional 44 jobs for U.S. natives.  Currently, there is no employment visa designed for students who earn advanced degrees in the U.S. after graduation, only a “training” program that allows them to work for a limited period.

. . .

The report also shows clear job creation from foreign workers on temporary-employment visas:  Adding 100 workers in the H-1B visa program for skilled workers—a program that exhausts its arbitrary numerical limitation each year, including this year—results in an additional 183 jobs among U.S. natives.

. . .

Finally, the study finds that highly educated immigrants pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits. In 2009, the average foreign-born adult with an advanced degree paid over $22,500 in federal, state, and Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA, or Social Security and Medicare) taxes, while their families received just $2,3000 in benefits, or just over one-tenth of their fiscal contribution.  And, in fact, looking at all immigrants, the average adult paid $7,826 in federal, state, and FICA taxes, while their families receive $4,422 in cash and in-kind transfers from major government programs.

 

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