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Employment-based immigration good for economy, study concludes

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Those that oppose immigration reform and seek strict enforcement through deportation proceedings, particularly as a means of limiting employment-based immigration, point to a generally perceived risk for U.S.-born American workers. As the argument goes, foreign immigrants with work visas are taking jobs away from U.S. workers at a time when unemployment continues to be a sticking point for the country's economic woes. But a recent study seems to debunk the theory, no matter what some politicians are saying on either side of the aisle in the District of Columbia. And the study was prepared and published by a conservative think-tank and a business-friendly organization, groups one would normally expect to oppose immigration initiatives.

The study was a joint venture between the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Partnership for a New American Economy. Its goal was to review immigration data from 2000 to 2007 in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The unexpected conclusion was that temporary foreign workers actually create job opportunities for U.S.-born Americans and also improve the economy, and this was found to be true of both skilled and unskilled workers. For every 100 H-1B visas granted for skilled labor, jobs were said to be created for an additional 183 U.S. natives. For every 100 H-2B visas granted for unskilled labor, an additional 464 jobs were created for U.S.-born Americans.

There were other positive immigration-related findings as well, but the inescapable conclusion was that no evidence exists to support the theory that immigrants are taking jobs from U.S.-born Americans. Nevertheless, work visas and employment-based immigration continue to be buzzwords on the political landscape. Those confronting these issues will need to have their facts gathered and their paperwork in order as they fight for their own American dream.

Source: The Register, "The cure for US job woes: More immigrants," Rik Myslewski, Dec. 16, 2011

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