Opponents of immigration are ascendant. From Poland to the United States, politicians are shutting borders and turning away refugees. “Our Country is FULL!” U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted in April. But misplaced fears over security, slow assimilation, and stolen jobs have distracted from the real demographic crisis looming over Europe and North America: not one of too many immigrants but one of too few.
Immigrants also help the people in the communities to which they move. Research by the economists Gaetano Basso and Giovanni Peri indicates that in the United States, when immigrants move to an area, wages for natives of all education levels tend to rise. Their finding matches reams of evidence suggesting that even dramatic increases in immigrant worker populations tend to help native workers. In a study he conducted with the economist Francesco Ortega, Peri further found no evidence that immigration weakens institutions or worsens income inequality. Claims that immigrants will overwhelm housing supply or government social programs are unconvincing when the native population is falling and the United States employs immigrants to supply those very services.
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