Friday's testimony at first Senate hearing on the bipartisan immigration reform bill presented economic pros and cons of legalizing some 11 million people. A chief concern is wage suppression for low-skill Americans.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
The US Senate's first hearing on a bipartisan proposal to overhaul America's immigration system centered mainly on this question: Would legalizing some 11 million undocumented people offer enough benefits to the overall economy to outweigh the negative effect such a step would have on the wages of low-skill citizens?
Most senators on the Judiciary Committee argued Friday that the benefits would outweigh the costs, and one of two conservative witnesses agreed with that assessment. Whether the broader Senate will eventually reach the same conclusion, however, is far from certain.
Low-skill workers and black Americans in particular would see their wages reduced and job prospects dimmed if the US were to legalize millions of new workers, says Peter Kirsanow, a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights. He called the prospect of such a step “madness.”
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