Immigrant Wages Converge with Those of Native-Born Americans

The degree and speed at which immigrant wages converge with the wages of native-born Americans are important indicators of economic assimilation. According to new research from Cato scholars Andrew Forrester and Alex Nowrasteh, newly arrived immigrants have wages lower than otherwise identical natives, but those wage differences diminish greatly or disappear entirely after about two decades of working in the United States. Forrester and Nowrasteh note that, while immigrant wages are converging with those of natives, legalizing illegal immigrants would likely narrow the gaps even further, as their lack of legal status explains a large percentage of the overall wage gap between all immigrants and all natives.

U.S. Citizens Targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Texas

Texas law SB 4 imposes jail time on local police who fail to detain anyone whom federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests. A new bulletin from Cato scholar David Bier examines almost twelve years of data from Travis County, Texas, and shows that ICE targets large numbers of U.S. citizens. The rate of wrongful detainer issuances in Travis County implies that ICE targeted at least 3,506 U.S. citizens in Texas and 19,873 nationwide with detainers that were subsequently canceled. Supporters of expanded enforcement laws like SB 4 need to create better safeguards to protect the rights of American citizens from ICE detainers.

Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s “Travel” Ban

The Supreme Court has ruled that President Trump’s order to restrict travel from several majority Muslim countries to the United States was within his authority. Cato scholar David Bier argues that, as a matter of policy, no president should be given such broad power to determine immigration law. “While the travel ban currently affects only a small share of immigrants and foreign travelers,” says Bier, “all legal immigrants should be concerned that the president will wield this power against them next. Congress should immediately intervene to preserve its power to determine immigration policy.”

Cato Studies

Immigration and Redistribution

By Alberto Alesina, Armando Miano, and Stefanie Stantcheva. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 135. October 17, 2018.

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