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ERIC Number: EJ988151
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-0276-8739
Credible Immigration Policy Reform: A Response to Briggs
Orrenius, Pia M.; Zavodny, Madeline
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, v31 n4 p963-966 Fall 2012
The authors agree with Vernon M. Briggs, Jr., that U.S. immigration policy has had unexpected consequences. The 1965 immigration reforms led to unanticipated chain migration from developing countries whereas the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act failed to slow unauthorized immigration. The result is a large foreign-born population with relatively low levels of human capital. The authors disagree with him, however, on the labor market effects of this migration stream and on his proposed policy reforms. Briggs suggests that immigration policy has the power to solve society's most vexing problems. By simply reducing legal immigration by 30 percent and eliminating illegal immigration, the United States can reverse the long-term decline in blue-collar wages, reduce unemployment, and lower poverty and income inequality. The authors think immigration policy has important economic effects and needs to be overhauled, but immigration policy reform is not a silver bullet. Briggs attributes multifaceted labor market trends to immigration, ignoring the role of skill-biased technological change and institutional factors. But he is right that there are problems with sustained, mass low-skilled immigration and that the goal of immigration reform should be to mitigate some of the adverse effects. The solution, however, is not to close the labor market to new immigrants and kick out unauthorized immigrants. The authors believe the solution involves prioritizing employment-based immigration. The United States should increase high-skilled immigration, but also have programs for low-skilled workers. Just as with international trade, the solution is to first reap the gains from immigration and then redirect some of the benefits to offset adverse distributional consequences.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Immigration Reform and Control Act 1986