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Immigration Critics Wrong: Fewer Visas Did Not Help U.S. Workers

February 03, 2022 (1 min read)

Stuart Anderson, Forbes, Feb. 3, 2022

"The number of new foreign-born workers in the United States declined because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but U.S. workers were not better off, according to new research. That refutes a long-held anti-immigration argument and addresses a concern raised by some labor unions. Worker shortages, partly a result of restrictive immigration policies and made worse by the pandemic, have contributed to empty shelves in supermarketsshorter hours in restaurants and elsewhere, and an inability for many companies to fill jobs and grow in the United States. ... Immigration critics have insisted that fewer legal visas would translate into gains for U.S. workers. The Covid-19 pandemic created a natural experiment to test that proposition and found it to be untrue. The results show a simplistic, zero-sum argument that restricting the size of the labor force benefits U.S. workers is incorrect. Such an argument fails to take into account many factors, including the role played by capital and entrepreneurs in a market economy. Instead, imposing visa restrictions and having fewer available workers reduce economic growth and make it more difficult for businesses to expand and deliver products and services to Americans."