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Immigration reform will help the country

Date published: 5/23/2014

In an article by Sean Hackbarth on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's website, I read the findings of economist after economist concluding what many business leaders already know: Immigration reform helps, not harms, America and its workers.

No one can accuse the U.S. Chamber of being liberal and anti-business. Yet the Chamber has spoken for years on the need for "common-sense immigration reform" that, as stated on their web page, "strengthens border security, expands the number of visas for high- and lesser-skilled workers, makes improvements to the federal employment verification system, and provides an earned lawful status for the undocumented with no bar to future citizenship."

Why support reform? If for no other reason (and there are many others besides), common-sense immigration reform is simply good for business and our economy.

As cited by Hackbarth, the presence in the workforce of foreign, high-skilled STEM workers (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), in the U.S. on an H-1B visa, actually contributes to raising the incomes of all native workers.

What's more, low-skilled immigrants, often wrongly accused of replacing native workers, rather complement them by working jobs that allow native-born laborers to shift to more complex and communication-intensive employment. This, as Hackbarth concludes, increases productivity, economic growth, and higher wages.

Yet our broken immigration system limits the number of H-1B visas available annually and denies immigrants the ability to travel a lawful path to citizenship.

If some find immigration reform objectionable based on misinformation about and bias toward immigrants, what do they have against the growth and prosperity of America and its workers?

Greg Smith