Immigrant workers reduce job opportunities for native-born workers in the short run, but improve the economy after several years, thus making it easier for everybody to be hired, according to a study released Monday.
``Immigration may slightly reduce native employment and average income at first,'' according to the 26-page report The Impact of Immigrants in Recession and Economic Expansion. ``In the long run, immigrants do not reduce native employment rates, but they do increase productivity and hence average income.''
The report, issued by the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, based its conclusions on an analysis of U.S. Census data from 1960 to 2008. To assess long-term effects, the report's author looked at 48 years of state population and employment data. For the short term, they analyzed population surveys since 1994.
The report is one of the latest efforts by groups favoring immigration reform to show that foreign nationals in the U.S. work force help advance national interests.
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As the debate over legalization of undocumented immigrants heats up in the aftermath of Arizona's high-profile immigration control law, one of the pivotal points centers on whether foreign workers help or harm U.S.-born workers.
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