Immigration Restrictions Harm Our Economy

From the American Institute for Economic Research
In an article published in AIER’s January 1996 Research Report, Thomas Lehman wrote, “The present immigration policy of the United States amounts to nothing less than a tariff or barrier to entry on the commodity of labor, and harms American consumers in the same manner as tariffs and trade barriers on other capital or consumer goods.” In over 20 years, the picture has not improved. Immigration laws restrict such voluntary cooperation by preventing some of those best qualified from fulfilling their most useful economic roles.

Calls for immigration restrictions have long been a part of American politics. In 2006, 54 Republican and 26 Democratic senators, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, voted for the Secure Fence Act, which authorized 700 miles of physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. Still, it is clear from rhetoric and recent executive orders that President Donald Trump intends to restrict immigration more than the past several administrations of either party.

Though it is difficult to predict how much the new administration’s policies will reduce immigration, it is instructive to look at the overall impact of immigration on the U.S. economy as well as positions taken by advocates of individual freedom.


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