Almost 1,500 economists have addressed a letter to President Donald Trump and top congressional leaders stressing the importance of immigrants for economic growth.
The letter sent Wednesday notes that immigrants start businesses, are clustered in math, science and engineering and can offset any economic drag from baby boomer retirements.
It notes that “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.”
The full text of the letter follows:
An Open Letter from 1,470 Economists on Immigration
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.
Six Nobel laureates were among the 1,470 economists who signed the letter.
The signees come from across the political spectrum, including Austan Goolsbee, an economic adviser to former President Barack Obama, and Glenn Hubbard, who worked for former President George W. Bush.