Arguments against immigration come across my desk every day but I rarely encounter a unique one. In 2016, I wrote a blog responding to the most common arguments with links to different research. Since then, academics and policy analysts have produced new research that should be included. These are the main arguments against immigration, my quick responses to them, and links to some of the most relevant evidence:
1. “Immigrants will take American jobs, lower our wages, and especially hurt the poor.”
This is the most common argument and also the one with the greatest amount of evidence rebutting it. First, the displacement effect is small if it even affects natives at all. Immigrants are typically attracted to growing regions and they increase the supply and demand sides of the economy once they are there, expanding employment opportunities. Second, the debate over immigrant impacts on American wages is confined to the lower single digits—immigrants may increase the relative wages for some Americans by a tiny amount and decrease them by a larger amount for the few Americans who directly compete against them. Immigrants likely compete most directly against other immigrants so the effects on less-skilled native-born Americans might be very small or even positive.