Is Immigration Good for America?

Cato Conference
Thursday, April 26, 2012
9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Featuring: Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), ranking member on the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement; Tamar Jacoby, ImmigrationWorks USA; Pia Orrenius, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Ali Noorani, National Immigration Forum; Barry Chiswick, George Washington University; Jim Harper, Cato Institute; Madeline Zavodny, Agnes Scott College; Stuart Anderson, National Foundation for American Policy; Ted Alden, Council on Foreign Relations; Bryan Caplan, George Mason University; Alex Nowrasteh, Cato Institute. Moderated by Ilya Shapiro, Sallie James, and Dan Ikenson of the Cato Institute.

The Cato Institute
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Washington, DC 20001

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The Winter 2012 issue of Cato Journal was devoted to the critical question of "Is Immigration Good for America?" In conjunction with its publication, we are pleased to present this special Conference, featuring presentations by many of the national experts who contributed to the publication, along with addresses by other key figures in the immigration debate.

We are a nation peopled almost exclusively by immigrants or those who are descended from immigrants. More than any other major nation, we are defined by our immigrant past, present, and future. Yet there are significant incongruities between the immigration system we currently have and the one that would best serve our economic interests and our ideals as a free society.

This conference will address a number of key questions, including:

  • What are the arguments for immigration restriction?
  • What are the economic benefits and costs of immigration?
  • What are the economic effects of an "amnesty" for unauthorized workers in the U.S.?
  • What is the demographic impact of immigration in an era of declining birthrates?
  • How easy or difficult is it to immigrate legally to the United States?
  • What is the effect of immigration enforcement on the border and in the workplace?
  • Should we retain the doctrine of birthright citizenship as it has been interpreted in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution?
  • Is immigration incompatible with a welfare state?
  • What kind of reforms of current immigration policy would be most beneficial, and can market incentives be utilized to allocate immigration visas?
8:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m - 9:05 a.m. Opening Remarks

Dan Ikenson, Director, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute
9:05 a.m. - 9:25 a.m. Keynote Address



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Tamar Jacoby, President and CEO, ImmigrationWorks USA
9:25 a.m - 10:35 a.m. Panel 1: The Economics and Demographics of U.S. Immigration



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Moderator: Sallie James, Cato Institute

Panelists:
Pia Orrenius, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Ali Noorani, National Immigration Forum
Barry Chiswick, George Washington University
10:35 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. Coffee Break
10:50 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Panel 2: Assessments of the Current U.S. Immigration System



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Moderator: Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute

Panelists:
Jim Harper, Cato Institute
Madeline Zavodny, Agnes Scott College
Stuart Anderson, National Foundation for American Policy
12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

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Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), ranking member on the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement
12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Panel 3: Immigration Solutions



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Panelists:
Ted Alden, Council on Foreign Relations
Bryan Caplan, George Mason University
Alex Nowrasteh, Cato Institute



The Cato Institute is grateful to the Carnegie Corporation of New York for its support of this conference and to the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation for funding the special issue of Cato Journal.

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