US immigration: economics vs. politics

A mother and her two children walk to one side of the United States wall after crossing the Rio Grande.
A mother and her two children walk to one side of the United States wall after crossing the Rio Grande.

Immigration has overtaken the economy atop the list of Americans’ biggest concerns. In part that’s because the economic future is getting brighter, and as it happens, immigration is part of that story.

The upside: According to a CBO study, the surge in irregular migrants seen under Joe Biden will lead to 1.7 million more workers in 2024, and will grow the economy by about $7 trillion over the next decade.

The downside: Irregular immigration is straining social services, even in Democrat-run “sanctuary cities.” And over the longer term, experts say that the lower skill levels of this wave of migrants could undermine productivity and depress wages in low-skilled sectors.

The politics: Notwithstanding the findings about undocumented immigrants’ contributions to the future economy, Americans views are hardening. 80% of Americans say the current administration is doing a bad job managing the border, and a Gallup poll found that 28% of voters named immigration as the country’s biggest problem, up from 20% last month.

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