Cracking Down on Undocumented Immigrants Can Hurt the Economy

The Economist: “The flipside of low wages for illegal immigrants, though, is greater economic benefits for those who are not competing with them for work. A rare study of the effect of illegal immigrants specifically found that in Georgia, a one-percentage-point increase in undocumented workers in firms boosted wages by about 0.1%. One explanation is that such firms benefit from a richer mix of skills within their workforce. Another explanation is that they are sharing the spoils of the savings that stem from hiring workers on the black market.”

“Were a President Trump to deport all illegal immigrants, the economy would suffer greatly. Just ask Arizona, where a crackdown on illegal immigrants in 2007 shrank the economy by 2%, according to a private analysis by Moody’s, a ratings agency, for the Wall Street Journal. The incomes of most workers would fall. Yet strangely enough, those best placed to benefit from a mass deportation would be those who had crossed the border legally.”

Which Party Benefits from Increased Immigration?

Wall Street Journal: “’Noncitizen/undocumented immigrants are both the enemy and the raison d’être of some politicians,’ wrote Anna Maria Mayda of Georgetown University, Giovanni Peri at the University of California, Davis,  and Walter Steingress at the Bank of France. Their research was published this week as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

“The authors find that both effects do happen. Immigrants who become voting citizens really are more likely to support Democrats, while rising immigration really does cause native voters to more heavily favor Republicans.”

“The key takeaway of the research is that increasing immigration would, on net, boost Democrats in 353 districts. It would only boost Republicans in 55 districts.”

“The districts in which Republicans are boosted [are] districts with a lot of immigration that make voters more likely to vote Republican.”

“Or, in other words, a little bit of immigration helps Democrats by giving them new voters, but a lot of it helps Republicans by driving native voters’ worries … Yes, immigrants who can vote help Democrats; immigrants who can’t vote help Republicans. But both parties appear to face some clear and surprising electoral risks of overdoing it or underdoing it on immigration.”

Two Issues Have Fueled Trump’s Rise

Washington Post: “There is considerable evidence that Donald Trump has built his national lead in the Republican president primary on a powerful combination of economic anxiety, frustration with Washington and, in particular, concerns over immigration. Interviews with voters reveal it again and again, and so do public opinion polls.”

“You can see signs of it in this nifty new Wall Street Journal interactive that shows 4 out of 5 Trump supporters believe immigration (not just illegal immigration — all immigration) hurts the United States more than it helps. A majority say free trade is bad for America. Other groups of GOP voters look more kindly on trade and immigrants.”

“More directly, two questions in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll show how Trump is drawing lopsided support in the Republican field from voters who worry about the economy and about immigrants.”

Trump’s Image Didn’t Take a Hit on Muslim Proposal

Gallup: “Donald Trump’s image among the overall U.S. population has trended up, not down, after his Dec. 7 recommendation that the U.S. prevent Muslims from coming into the country. The statement was met with extraordinary controversy — even for Trump — and most of his fellow Republican candidates, along with Democratic leaders, denounced it. Clearly, it would not have surprised many observers if Trump’s image had taken a hit as a result.”

“But we can reject that hypothesis, at least based on data we have collected so far. Trump had a negative image among American adults to begin with, but it became slightly less so after his pronouncement, rather than more so. In the two weeks leading up to and including Dec. 7, Trump had a net favorable score among national adults of -27, based on a favorable percentage of 32% and an unfavorable percentage of 59%. That improved slightly to a net favorable of -22 (34% favorable, 56% unfavorable) for the nine days from Dec. 8 to Dec. 16.”

Opinions of Donald Trump Among National Adults

Terrorist Acts Prompt Governors to Reject Syrian Refugees Fleeing Terrorism

CNN: “More than half the nation’s governors — 27 states — say they oppose letting Syrian refugees into their states, although the final say on this contentious immigration issue will fall to the federal government. States protesting the admission of refugees range from Alabama and Georgia, to Texas and Arizona, to Michigan and Illinois, to Maine and New Hampshire. Among these 27 states, all but one have Republican governors.”

Washington Post 11/17/15 newsletter: “The idea of allowing Syrian refugees into America is creating fear and anxiety among some Americans — especially Republicans, who a September Quinnipiac poll found were overwhelmingly opposed to allowing Syrian refugees into the United States.”

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“In that poll, 81 percent of Republicans also said they think the Syrian refugees would pose a security risk. Perhaps no one channels those fears like Donald Trump, who has been willing to go further than any other politician to play up Americans’ national insecurities. On Monday, he said he’d “strongly consider” closing some mosques in the United States in the wake of the Paris attacks.”

Asians Will Surge Past Hispanics to Become Largest Immigrant Group

Washington Post: “In a major shift in immigration patterns, Asians will surge past Hispanics to become the largest group of immigrants heading to the United States by 2065, according to estimates in a new study.”

Asians Projected to Become the Largest Immigrant Group, Surpassing Hispanics

“An increase in Asian and Hispanic immigration also will drive U.S. population growth, with foreign-born residents expected to make up 18 percent of the country’s projected 441 million people in 50 years, the Pew Research Center said in a report … released Monday. This will be a record, higher than the nearly 15 percent during the late 19th-century and early 20th-century wave of immigration from Europe.”

“Today, immigrants make up 14 percent of the population, an increase from 5 percent in 1965. The tipping point is expected to come in 2055, when Asians will become the largest immigrant group at 36 percent, compared with Hispanics at 34 percent.”

“By 2065, no racial or ethnic group will hold a majority in the United States, with whites holding 46 percent of the population, Hispanics at 24 percent, Asians at 14 percent and blacks at 13 percent. Currently, the country is 62 percent white, 18 percent Hispanic, 12 percent black and 6 percent Asian.”

Which States Are the Most Welcoming to Refugees?

Washington Post: “In recent years, the five most welcoming states (relative to their populations) are North and South Dakota, Idaho, Nebraska, and Vermont. Adding up the numbers from fiscal years 2013 and 2014, these states each received over 100 immigrants per 100,000 residents over the span of those two years.”

“Some of the least welcoming states are Montana, Wyoming, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Hawaii. Montana and Wyoming don’t seem to have received any immigrants in 2013 and 2014. Mississippi and Arkansas, both states with nearly three million residents, took 10 and 14 refugees, respectively.”

“In 2013, the U.S. took about 70,000 refugees, mostly from Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, and Somalia. It also took about 25,000 asylees, mostly from China, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Nepal.”

Immigration Takes Center Stage in 2016

Gallup: “Twenty percent of U.S. registered voters say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on immigration, with another 60% saying it will be one of many important considerations they take into account. Registered voters who are Republican, first- or second-generation immigrants or Hispanics are more likely than others to say sharing a candidate’s position on immigration is a must in order to win their vote.”

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“Earlier this year, Gallup found voters ranking immigration as relatively less important as an issue to their vote than the economy, healthcare and the federal government. However, that poll was taken before Trump entered the race. The Minority Rights and Relations poll reported here was conducted mostly after Trump announced his candidacy, finding about one in five registered voters saying they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on immigration.”

“In a close primary or general election contest, even if it is less important than the economy and other issues, immigration could easily tilt the outcome toward one candidate or another.”

Birthright Citizenship Is Not New Issue for GOP

Washington Post: “Donald Trump has reignited the immigration debate in the United States.  But while this is one of the more radical elements of Trump’s broader immigration reform proposals, the issue of birthright citizenship is not new.”

“Between 1993 and 2015, 247 representatives in the House sponsored or co-sponsored legislative efforts to deny birthright citizenship. These efforts have been highly partisan. Out of these 247 representatives, 96 percent were Republican.”

“Let’s look at this using one of the most widely used measures of left-right political ideology, the DW-Nominate score. The higher the score, the more ideologically conservative the representative. The median score for GOP representatives who have supported changes to birthright citizenship is 24 percent higher—that is, more conservative—than the median score for all other Republican representatives in the House. Figure 1 illustrates the ideological differences between legislators who have and have not sponsored or co-sponsored legislative efforts to deny birthright citizenship, for both Republicans and Democrats.”


“But here’s what we do know. Policymakers who have sponsored or co-sponsored legislative efforts to deny birthright citizenship represent districts that, demographically, resemble a bygone America—this version of America may very well be what GOP presidential candidates are appealing to.”


How Trump’s Attack on Immigration Hurts All Republicans

Patrick J. Egan in the Washington Post: “In one word, here’s why Donald Trump’s candidacy has gone from sideshow to serious problem for the Republican Party: immigration.”

“What’s gone largely unnoticed is that Republicans’ tough talk on immigration is at odds with a majority of Americans considered as a whole. Over the last decade, American public support for immigrants—and specifically, for allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain U.S. citizenship if they meet certain requirements—has been remarkably strong [and has never dipped below 50%.]”

“Trump and his rivals are appealing for the votes of a narrow—if fervent—slice of the G.O.P primary electorate. But in doing so, they are taking positions that are far out of step with the majority of Americans who will be voting in November 2016.”

The Most Common Job Held by Immigrants in Each State

Matthew Yglesias: Andy Kiersz at Business Insider crunched the numbers from the American Community Survey and the Minnesota Population Center to develop a map showing the most commonly held job by immigrants in every state in the union.

“But the most socially and economically significant trend is probably the large number of states that are full of immigrant health aides, nurses, or personal care aides. Given the aging of the population, there is going to be increasing demand for these kinds of services.”

Most Favor Path to Citizenship for Immigrants


Gallup: “Two in three U.S. adults favor a plan to allow immigrants who are living illegally in the U.S. to remain in the country and become citizens if they meet certain requirements over time. Far fewer support allowing those immigrants to remain in the U.S. to work for a limited period of time (14%), or to deport all of these immigrants back to their home countries (19%). U.S. adults’ views have been largely stable over the past decade.”