What does immigration reform have to do with unemployment? It’s not as simple as you might think. Having more computer programmers, gardeners and scientists from outside the U.S. doesn’t mean there’s an out-of-work American in each of those categories. (There is wage pressure, naturally, where there is the most competition).
Immigration is a not a zero-sum game. In fact, countries such as the United States, which are more open to immigrants, have faster growing economies than Japan, which is limited by its internal demographics.
Both the United States and Japan’s native born populations are growing older, but in Japan, the economy is shrinking as the number of retirees grows, and in the U.S., younger immigrants help businesses keep producing.
As Congress considers expanding the number of high-skill immigrant visas and creating a larger guest-worker program, it will be guided by its independent auditors’ estimates of how those changes would affect tax revenues and government spending.
A former director of the Congressional Budget Office explains here. It’s a very wonky post, but an interesting window into the economics of immigration.