Monday, February 25, 2013

Economic effects of new immigration law

It is not a done deal by any means, but talk in Washington indicates a high probability of major changes in the nation's immigration laws.  Major provisions would include increased visas for graduates of US universities in STEM disciplines, temporary visas for certain types of workers (mainly agricultural), and steps toward legal status for those in the country illegally. 

This WSJ piece tries to sum up the overall impact.  Illegals become more likely to invest in themselves and their communities, so we should expect more spending on education and housing.  Their employment and salaries are unlikely to be immediately affected, because they are already here and employers accepted their fake IDs to begin with. Over time some will be able to shift from the cash only economy to regular employment. 

Government budgets will be affected, but it is hard to tell which way.  Illegals will have to pay an entrance fee and those formerly in the underground economy become more likely to pay taxes.  Simultaneously, illegals become eligible for a wide range of government benefits. 

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