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A common argument for exclusionary immigration policies is that immigrant workers take jobs from Americans and harm the US economy. But economic experts argue that immigrants are essential in the American workplace.
In recent months, we’ve seen public statements from the Labor Secretary and the Federal Reserve Chairman warning that our severe restrictions on immigration in recent years have harmed the economy. As Labor Secretary Martin Walsh told the Wall Street Journal, "The threat to the American economy long-term is not inflation, it's [about] immigration. It's not having enough workers."
A 2022 study from IZA Institute of Labor Economics found that reduced refugee resettlement and increased bars for asylum seekers in recent years has resulted in a loss to the US economy of billions of dollars each year. According to the study, the drastic cuts to the US refugee admissions program since 2017 has cost the economy over $9.1 billion per year. Researchers found that “these estimates imply that barriers to migrants seeking protection, beyond humanitarian policy concerns, carry substantial economic costs.”
Immigrants and refugees are worth far more than the sum of their economic impact, but it’s worth remembering that policies of exclusion hurt American citizens, too.
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