A 2013 report by Myers suggests that in Southern California alone, "boomers are beginning to retire from the most productive period of their lives, creating enormous replacement needs in the workforce." In other words, the United States needs immigrants to help cover the retirement costs of older Americans and to fuel economic growth.
Of course, anti-immigration advocates such as Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., are ignoring those findings, focusing instead on a report by the conservative Heritage Foundation that argues that legalization will cost more than $6 trillion in the coming decades.
The report presumes that immigrants will rely on a lifetime of public benefits such as public school, Social Security and, in many cases, welfare and remain at the bottom of the economic ladder. Such assumptions are unfounded and conflict with the foundation's own 2006 finding that "arguments that immigrants harm the American economy should be dismissed out of hand."
On Friday, one of the new report's co-authors came under fire, and has since resigned, for arguing in his 2009 dissertation that Latino immigrants had lower IQs than American whites, which he said should be considered when setting immigration policy.
Immigrants are drawn to the United States in search of work and a better life. That was true for previous waves of emigres, and it is true today.
Yahoo, Google and EBay are just a few of the companies started by immigrants. A study released by Doug Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, concluded that "labor force participation rates are higher among the foreign-born" and "the rates of entrepreneurship among immigrants are higher than among the native-born population." As a result, he wrote, immigration reform would reduce the deficit by as much as $2.5 trillion.
There are plenty of reasons to support immigration reform. Economic growth is one of the most compelling.