How Do Foreigners Create Jobs?

Giovanni Peri, a UC Davis professor of economics and director of the Global Migration Center, wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 24 with Chad Sparber, a professor of economics at Colgate University and UC Davis alum. The Op-Ed, “Want more American jobs? Reopen America to foreign workers,” describes the benefits of immigrant workers. Historically, immigrant workers create jobs for both immigrants and American-born citizens. Read on to learn more. Full article is here.

In April and in June, President Trump issued orders that slammed shut the doors of the United States to nearly all foreign-born workers until at least the end of the year. He said the purpose wa to save American jobs.

But in fact, his misguided orders — barring workers in a wide range of jobs, from computer scientists on H-1B visas to seasonal workers in hotels — will further harm the economy during a deep recession.

Giovanni Peri mugshot

Courts taking up the subject

On Thursday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will hear a set of cases challenging Trump’s legal authority to issue these orders. The court should block his directives and save the American economy from a disastrous policy.

The president’s claim that immigrant workers take American jobs is ignorant of economic realities. Research shows that capital and technology adjust quickly to immigration in ways that prevent the decline of wages. Americans and foreign-born workers generally don’t fight over the same jobs — they work in different types of jobs that complement one another.

Immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial than the general population. They start new businesses and employ Americans. They stimulate international trade and investment while increasing demand for local goods and services. Immigrant workers also reduce the prices of goods and services by working in areas such as childcare, food preparation and elderly care.

The administration says that a severe recession caused by the pandemic justifies sealing the U.S. economy from abroad. But the data and our history show that closing labor markets even in times of crisis, doesn’t work.

See more of Peri’s research and comments in the full story here.

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