October 3, 2013


Unauthorized Immigrant Arrivals Are On The Rise, And That's Good News (adeline Zavodny, 1/02/13, Forbes)

Unauthorized immigration is a bellwether of the strength of the economy. Unlike legal immigrants who may have waited years or even decades for a visa, illegal immigrants respond quickly to changes in economic conditions. Inflows rise faster when the economy, especially the construction sector, is growing, and slow down when the economy is shrinking. This turnaround is consistent with other signs that the economy is recovering and that residential construction activity in particular is gaining steam--good news for homeowners.  [,...]

[T]he House should focus on addressing the fundamental factor that motivates most illegal immigration: jobs. Employers turn to undocumented immigrants because current immigration policy makes it impossible to bring in foreign workers quickly and legally when employers can't find Americans to fill jobs. The current H-2A and H-2B temporary foreign worker programs require planning months in advance and following complicated rules. It's far easier to hire an unauthorized immigrant.

To reduce unauthorized immigration, immigration policy needs to reproduce the flexibility that employers value in unauthorized workers. Allowing temporary foreign workers to easily move across employers is critical. Current policy ties H-2A and H-2B visa holders to their employers, increasing the potential for abuse and weakening market forces. If temporary foreign workers could freely move to an employer who offered them a higher wage or better working conditions, they would. Such mobility would force employers to raise wages when labor markets tighten, which would benefit competing American workers, too. The Senate bill creates far more mobility than current programs but still allows only pre-approved employers hire temporary foreign workers, not the spot labor market that employers need when trying to get motel rooms cleaned, meals cooked, or crops picked.

Posted by at October 3, 2013 1:58 PM

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