Tom Shuford: True economic impact

April 17, 2014 

A UNC-Chapel Hill study found the economic impact of immigration on the North Carolina economy to be positive (“ Study: Migrants boost N.C. economy,” April 16 Business article). Positive for whom? Employers? Native-born workers? Each will experience a tight or glutted labor market very differently.

The article acknowledged, “The study doesn’t address whether immigrants take jobs away from the native-born or depress overall wages.” Is it not important to know this, given the choice confronting Congress, which is whether to give “a pathway to citizenship” – or other legal status – to an estimated 12 million illegal aliens, 410,000 in North Carolina? Moreover, the UNC study said nothing about the impact of illegal immigration. A cynic might suspect for political reasons.

By contrast, a study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform focuses on illegal immigration, which “costs North Carolina about $578 for every household headed by a native-born or naturalized U.S. citizen.” (This is largely K-12 education costs for children of illegal aliens.) This is an “economic impact” a voter can understand.

Tom Shuford


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