Immigration’s Impact on Low-Wage Americans

Nice, short, readable article by an economics professor (wow!) about immigration.  Read it here.  Key takeaways from Alan  Krueger’s article:
1) the best research suggests that foreign immigrants don’t depress the wages or employment opportunities of Americans already here.  A good study looked at the sudden influx of immigrants to Miami associated with the Mariel boatlift.  Result: no harm done.
2) some of the specific proposals could cause "exploitation" of immigrants.  For instance, the idea that employers would sponsor a worker for citizenship after 60 months of work would lead workers to stay, even if wages and working conditions were worse than available elsewhere.  Krueger calls that exploitation, whereas I would call it non-wage compensation with golden handcuffs.  The lower dollar wage may not be a big problem, but tying a person’s citizenship opportunity to an employer’s decision does seem to threaten economic efficiency.

Business strategy implications: Some of the immigration proposals could have a major impact on your workforce.  Evaluate who is working for you, both directly and through contractors, to compare with who might be able to work for you under any of the various reform packages.  Be ready for whatever changes occur.  (I know, the subject is confusing and ever-changing, but that’s why you’re paid the big bucks to deal with it.)