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Immigration Depresses Wages of Low-Wage Americans



(p. A11) Mr. Borjas is himself an immigrant, having at age 12 fled from Cuba to Miami with his widowed mother in 1962, just before the Cuban Missile Crisis shut down legal exits. As a labor economist, he has spent much of his academic career studying the effects of immigration on the American jobs market, often arguing that immigration depresses wages, or job opportunities, at the lower end of the scale. Here he notes that, on balance, the added production supplied by immigrants makes a modest contribution to U.S. economic growth. He generously provides readers with arguments on all sides, including Milton Friedman's wry observation that illegal immigrants are of more net benefit to the American economy than legals because they make less use of welfare-state services.


. . .


After totting up the pluses and minuses, Mr. Borjas concludes that immigration has very little effect on the lives of most Americans. He does worry, however, that some future wave might bring along with it the "institutional, cultural and political baggage that may have hampered development in the poor countries" from which immigrants often come, and he sees a need for reforms.



For the full review, see:


GEORGE MELLOAN. "BOOKSHELF; The Immigration Debate We Need." The Wall Street Journal (Weds., Oct. 19, 2016): A11.

(Note: ellipsis added.)


The book under review, is:

Borjas, George J. We Wanted Workers: Unraveling the Immigration Narrative. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.






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