In a newly published report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is urging the government to allow more high-skilled immigrants into the United States. The report says that while low-skilled immigrants can be a drain on local economies, high-skilled immigrants tend to pay more in taxes than they take back in government services. The study also notes that such immigrants also create jobs for Americans by starting businesses at a higher rate than native-born workers.
You can read some key findings from the report after the jump:
• Overall, 17 percent of workers over age 25 are foreign born. The United States relies more on low-skilled workers than high-skilled ones: Immigrants make up almost half of all workers without a high school degree.
• Immigrants founded a quarter of all tech startups between 1995 and 2005. They also have higher rates of starting businesses and employing themselves than native-born workers.
• A 2000 study suggested adding an extra 1.6 million high-skilled immigrants between the ages of 40 and 44 to the U.S. economy would have balanced the budget within five years and eventually eliminated the national debt.
• More than 1 million immigrants are waiting for an employment-based green card, and many have given up waiting entirely. No other major developed country “gives such a low priority to employment-based immigration,” the report says.
• The report concludes that immigrants improve the economy by allowing greater specialization and efficiencies. But the economy would benefit further, the study’s authors argue, if a greater share of the nation’s immigrants were highly skilled.
• Over all, a low-skilled immigrant costs $89,000 more over his or her lifetime in government services than the amount that he or she pays in taxes. In contrast, an immigrant with a high school diploma pays $105,000 more in taxes than he or she takes in government services.