Point-based Immigration Doesn’t Add Up

2017•08•20 Julia Blocher United Nations University, Manuel Orozco Inter-American Dialogue

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The White House recently embraced a proposal to cut legal immigration to the United States using a ‘merit’-based points system. Senior aides claim this would ensure migrants could support themselves financially, and not burden social services.

The move is an overture to some corners of the Republican base and has purportedly re-invigorated debates on national identity and American values. But does the ‘costs of immigration’ argument hold water?

Unsurprisingly, the devil is in the details.

Once the children of immigrants grow up to become second-generation adults, they have a far higher net fiscal benefit to states than native-born U.S. citizens do. The average annual fiscal benefit of second-generation immigrants in the U.S. is US$400 more than it is for native individuals. The disparity leaps in the District of Columbia, where a second-generation individual contributes US$7,100 while a native-born individual costs US$1,300.

Read the full article on The Hill.

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Authors

Manuel Orozco

Inter-American Dialogue

Manuel Orozco is a senior fellow and the director of the Migration, Remittances and Development Program at the Inter-American Dialogue, a U.S.-based policy think tank. He also serves as a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Development and as a senior adviser with the International Fund for Agricultural Development. He works directly with migrant organizations and nationalities in several countries and provides advice on diaspora engagement and financial independence.

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