What would the effect on the economy be if the US adopted an "open door" immigration policy?

President Trump's attempts to curtail immigration to this country seem likely to have a negative impact on the economy because of the elimination of the potential economic activity these immigrants would have had. His motivations aside, it seems like the general idea behind controlling immigration is to cherry pick from the available worldwide pool of workers to fill perceived needs in the economy and limit the socioeconomic burden surplus labor might place on the country. I have heard advocates for immigrant rights argue that immigrants (including refugees) have in fact a net positive impact on the economy. In the face of these renewed attacks on immigrants, there is a need to develop and articulate new visions for how the US should behave towards people who want to contribute to this country. Could your radio show use an episode to address the economic impacts of immigration to the USA, explore what guided the pre-Trump policy consensus on this issue, and discuss the potential economic effects of adopting an "open door" policy towards immigration to America?

Official response from submitted

Will do, but a word on the current immigration debate. In fact, immigration, like all such major events/processes has both good and bad effects on both the countries left and the countries arrived at. The debate over the pluses and minuses never ends because they are infinite in number and take many years to play out. The debate is by nature chiefly a distraction from the actual problem upsetting so many, namely the dysfunction of our economic system. However, left-over Cold War taboos make that too difficult for usual politicians, journalists and academics to confront, so debating immigration is the displacement.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-02-08 22:21:16 -0500
  • Jacob Mitchell
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-02-05 22:38:56 -0500