An Open Letter from 1,470 Economists on Immigration
Date: April 12, 2017
Dear Mr. President, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Minority Leader Pelosi:
The undersigned economists represent a broad swath of political and economic views. Among us are Republicans and Democrats alike. Some of us favor free markets while others have championed for a larger role for government in the economy. But on some issues there is near universal agreement. One such issue concerns the broad economic benefit that immigrants to this country bring.
As Congress and the Administration prepare to revisit our immigration laws, we write to express our broad consensus that immigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy. With the proper and necessary safeguards in place, immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers.
We view the benefits of immigration as myriad:
- Immigration brings entrepreneurs who start new businesses that hire American workers.
- Immigration brings young workers who help offset the large-scale retirement of baby boomers.
- Immigration brings diverse skill sets that keep our workforce flexible, help companies grow, and increase the productivity of American workers.
- Immigrants are far more likely to work in innovative, job-creating fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math that create life-improving products and drive economic growth.
Immigration undoubtedly has economic costs as well, particularly for Americans in certain industries and Americans with lower levels of educational attainment. But the benefits that immigration brings to society far outweigh their costs, and smart immigration policy could better maximize the benefits of immigration while reducing the costs.
We urge Congress to modernize our immigration system in a way that maximizes the opportunity immigration can bring, and reaffirms continuing the rich history of welcoming immigrants to the United States.
Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 2002; Chapman University
Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 2016; Harvard University
ALVIN E. ROTH
Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 2012; Stanford University
Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 2015; Princeton University
LARS PETER HANSEN
Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 2013; University of Chicago
Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 2007; University of Chicago
Former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Council of Economic Advisers for President George H.W. Bush; American Action Forum
Former OMB Director for President Clinton; Brookings Institution
Former Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama; University of Chicago
GEORGE P. SHULTZ
Former Secretary of State for President Reagan; Hoover Institution; Stanford University
Former Chairman,Council of Economic Advisers for President George W. Bush; Columbia University
Former Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama; Peterson Institute for International Economics
JAMES C. MILLER III
Former OMB Director for President Reagan