Immigration

Our economy is very dependent on foreign labor. Indeed, most of our workforce growth since 1990 has come from immigration, a trend that is expected to continue for at least the next 20 years. How these workers are employed, therefore, will have important implications for American economic health, as well as for national unity and social stability.

America’s employment-based immigration system is broken. The programs for admitting foreign workers for temporary and permanent jobs are rigid, cumbersome, and inefficient; do too little to protect the wages and working conditions of workers (foreign or domestic); do not respond very well to employers’ needs; and give almost no attention to adapting the number and characteristics of foreign workers to domestic labor shortages. The United States could benefit enormously from an immigration system that is more responsive to broader economic conditions.

 

Publications

Excluded Workers Demand Inclusion: $200 Million Investment is Essential Though Less than Half of What’s Needed

In this pivotal moment, DC policymakers must spend federal rescue funds in a timely way, with a laser focus on addressing the racial inequities that have excluded Black and brown communities from economic gains and left them more vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, federal policymakers excluded certain residents—including immigrants who are undocumented and workers in the informal cash economy—from federal relief that provides vital cash assistance to those who have lost income. Intentional investment is needed from DC policymakers to right this unfair exclusion and pursue an equitable and inclusive future for these workers.

Excluded Workers Demand Inclusion: $200 Million Investment is Essential Though Less than Half of What’s Needed

In this pivotal moment, DC policymakers must spend federal rescue funds in a timely way, with a laser focus on addressing the racial inequities that have excluded Black and brown communities from economic gains and left them more vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, federal policymakers excluded certain residents—including immigrants who are undocumented and workers in the informal cash economy—from federal relief that provides vital cash assistance to those who have lost income. Intentional investment is needed from DC policymakers to right this unfair exclusion and pursue an equitable and inclusive future for these workers.

The Economic Contributions of Pennsylvania’s Immigrants

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight just how interconnected our economies, communities, and lives have become. Workers and employers are still fighting to mitigate damage from the pandemic, and, thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and the coronavirus vaccine, recovery is on the horizon. This report highlights the role of immigrants in our economy as a whole as well as the contribution they have made during the pandemic and can make during the recovery. Immigrants have played a vital role in the pandemic, contributing to work in essential industries despite facing racial and ethnic discrimination. Additionally, immigrants have enriched our communities through the ownership of individual businesses like restaurants that have been devastated by the ongoing pandemic. The following report attempts to quantify the contributions of Pennsylvania’s foreign-born workforce. While much of their contributions are incalculable, there are economic contributions that can be measured and explored.

New York Approves $2.1 Billion Relief Fund for Immigrants — New Jersey Should Do the Same

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought increased recognition of immigrants’ critical contributions to our communities and economies. Our nation’s immigration policy and safety net programs, however, still do not reflect this reality. Undocumented immigrants are both disproportionately represented among industries experiencing job loss due to the pandemic and essential workers who risk their lives to perform critical work, including caring for our loved ones, keeping our stores stocked and running, and growing, preparing, and delivering our food. While most people facing financial hardship can benefit from government aid, including the federal stimulus payments and unemployment insurance, discriminatory eligibility criteria bar many immigrants from the same access to financial assistance.