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

“Only Wealthy Immigrants Need Apply” How a Trump Rule’s Chilling Effect Will Harm the U.S.

the Trump Administration published its proposed reinterpretation of a previously arcane rule, known as “public charge.” The new interpretation would radically restrict access to green cards and various types of visas for immigrants who do not have a high enough income, or who have used public health, food, or housing supports they are otherwise qualified to receive. Without input from Congress, the Trump Rule would fundamentally change this country’s approach to immigration, making income and use of public supports central considerations in whether or not to offer people an opportunity to make their lives in this country.

The direct effect would fall on people applying for a green card or certain visas, but the chilling effect would be vastly greater. Many families would very predictably be frightened and confused by the rule. FPI estimates that the chilling effect would extend to 24 million people in the United States, including 9 million children under 18 years old.

Refugees as Employees: Good Retention, Strong Recruitment

Employers that hire refugees see positive outcomes for their businesses, according to a report released today by the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Tent Partnership for Refugees. The study, based on over 100 interviews in four regions of the country, finds that when employers hire refugees they see lower turnover rates among refugees, and widen their pool of potential employees. In addition, many see overall improvements in the company, with their managers becoming more versatile as they adjust to working with a more diverse workforce.

These findings of positive outcomes in the workplace seem at odds with recent restrictions on the number of refugees admitted to the country. Despite record numbers of refugees around the world, the Trump Administration is currently on target to let in the lowest number of refugees resettled in recent decades.

New York State Economic and Fiscal Outlook FY 2019

  • February 15, 2018
  • Fiscal Policy Institute
  • Ron Deutsch, David Dyssegaard Kallick, Jonas Shaende, Cyierra Roldan, Shamier Settle, Melissa Krug, Brent Kramer, and Xiao Cheng

The Trump Administration’s tax law, looming federal budget cuts, multi-billion-dollar state budget deficits, glaring unmet human and physical infrastructure needs throughout the state…this year’s New York State budget negotiations are taking shape against a worrisome and uncertain backdrop. The president and congress are threatening to dismantle decades-old federal entitlement programs, make drastic cuts to programs that help millions of struggling New Yorkers, and create a hostile environment for the state’s four and a half million immigrants. The state has an important role to play to help make life better for all New Yorkers—and we must provide protections to our residents even if the federal government won’t. Based on last year’s congressional budget resolutions and what lies on the horizon in terms of cuts to federal programs, we know that things are going to change, and likely not for the better. The policy ideas advanced by Washington thus far do not bode well for New York State. While New York sends more in tax dollars to Washington than we get back, over one-third, or $57 billion, of New York State’s FY 2019 All Funds Budget is comprised of federal funds. The potential for substantial cuts in domestic spending poses gargantuan challenges for the state budget and budgets of local government entities throughout the state.

Dream Act Would Boost NY Economy and Tax Revenues: Revoking DACA Hurts Both

On September 5, the Trump Administration announced that it would end DACA (Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals), the program for immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
DACA grants immigrant youth temporary relief from deportation and gives them authorization to work
lawfully in this country. The president then “challenged” Congress to provide a fix to the problem he
created—presumably with something like the Dream Act, a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who
were brought to the United States as children.

The Congressional Budget Office recently issued an analysis of the federal impacts. It showed a
projected increase in tax revenues, as well as an increase in social spending. On net, the CBO estimates
a cost over 10 years of roughly $25 billion—an increase in costs that is also an investment in future
economic growth.

What’s at stake for New York’s economic and fiscal outlook?