The Immigration Debate We Need

Article in The New York Times
2 February, 2017

“The first month of the Trump administration has already changed the direction of the immigration debate, with many more changes coming soon. So far, executive orders and deportations dominate the discussion. But the fight over how many refugees to admit or how best to vet those refugees obscures what the debate is really about.

Changes in social policy do not make everyone better off, and immigration policy is no exception. I am a refugee, having fled Cuba as a child in 1962. Not only do I have great sympathy for the immigrant’s desire to build a better life, I am also living proof that immigration policy can benefit some people enormously.

But I am also an economist, and am very much aware of the many trade-offs involved. Inevitably, immigration does not improve everyone’s well-being. There are winners and losers, and we will need to choose among difficult options. The improved lives of the immigrants come at a price. How much of a price are the American people willing to pay, and exactly who will pay it?”

A very conservative voice, echoing President Trump’s assertions on immigration, but trying to structure them in principle and to make a serious case for them. Still, it remains a minority voice in academe.

To read the full article by George Borjas in the NY Times, please click here.

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