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“They’re Lazy Parasites! No, Wait … They Work Too Much!”

Here’s a letter to the Washington Times:

You report that the Center for Immigration Studies finds that “Since 2000, all of the net jobs added by the U.S. economy have gone to immigrants, both legal and illegal” (“ALL of the net jobs gains in the U.S. since 2000 have gone to immigrants,” June 27).  Immigration opponents (such as the CIS itself) interpret this finding as a reason for tightening immigration restrictions.

Not so fast.  For years we’ve heard immigration opponents repeatedly insist that we must restrict immigration into the U.S. because too many immigrants allegedly flock here to free-ride on the U.S. welfare state.  But if this new CIS finding is correct, it is strong evidence that immigrants overwhelmingly come to the U.S. for work and not for welfare.  So this CIS study can fairly be read (contrary to its authors’ intentions, to be sure) to support the case for making immigration into the U.S., not harder, but easier.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030​