Most foreign-born workers tend to pay more into the economy than they receive in government services, and end up helping create jobs for U.S. natives, a new report shows.
The report from the American Enterprise Institute and the Partnership for a New American Economy outlines several areas where changes in immigration policies could help job growth, decrease deficits and improve the economy.
“American's immigration policy is not geared toward stimulating economic growth and job creation,” the report states. “Every other developed country puts more emphasis on admitting immigrants that will meet economic needs.”
The report recommends incremental changes to the country's immigration policy that could “boost employment and accelerate the country's economic recovery.”
Also suggested is an increase in the number of workers' visas made available annually, particularly for highly skilled workers trained in advanced math and science fields. Making more temporary visas for both skilled and less skilled workers “would help generate the growth, economic opportunity, and new jobs America needs,” the report states.
According to the report:
“It's a frustrating thing,” said Greater Oklahoma City Chamber CEO Roy Williams. “We hear from the business community about this very thing ... and it's not about cheap workers, it's about the companies being able to recruit internationally.”
“It's not about taking jobs,” Williams said. “It's definitely more complex than that.”
‘Race for talent'
Also at issue are U.S.-educated graduates who grow up living in the country, going to school here and find no sanctuary for their undocumented status when they're ready to enter the job market, according to the report.
Recently, this issue has been brought up through proposed legislation like the Dream Act, which would allow a path to residency for undocumented youths educated in the U.S., who've lived here a number of years and meet other criteria.
“This is about a global race for talent,” Williams said. “When we export foreign students back home, they inevitably will compete against us.”
Oklahoma City immigration attorney Vance Winnigham said an issue lightly touched upon in the report is the declining American birthrate and a rapidly aging population here.
“The gap between employed versus retired is continuing to narrow,” Winnigham said. Immigration policies in other developed countries seek to attract and keep highly educated immigrants.
Winnigham said more “enlightened” immigration policies also would likely decrease the numbers of immigrants overstaying visas or entering the country illegally to work.
Highly educated workers seeking permanent residence here has subsided while underdeveloped or undeveloped countries are offering increased opportunities for them, he said.
“We have a lot of global companies here. If they can't bring the talent here, they go to the talent,” added Williams.