On Monday Caroline May reported that the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers opposes amnesty because it will lead to greater numbers of people immigrating to the U.S., both documented and undocumented.
The story quotes NAFBPO chairman Zach Taylor extensively, who complains that immigration laws are not being enforced aggressively enough. Perhaps that’s because the web of laws and procedures surrounding legal immigration are arcane, unreasonable, and unworkable.
Young people, more than older generations, tend to support a more open immigration system. A February 2013 study found that while few young adults chose immigration as their top issue in 2012, “young people overwhelmingly favored creating paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.”
The fact is that our immigration system is broken, and that further inhibits economic growth in a time when young people are desperate for jobs.
Young workers have been disproportionately hurt by the downturn in the economy. And, unlike for other parts of the workforce, it’s getting worse for young workers. July’s jobs report shows that the share of unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds not in school stood at 17.1 percent, compared with 11 percent six years ago. In July, 8.4 million 16- to 24-year-olds stopped looking for work altogether, a rise from 6.8 million a year earlier. America has one of the highest youth non-employment rates among developed nations.
Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, stated in a recent paper:
“Economists generally believe that immigration increases the size of the economy, improves productivity, and is an economic boon for almost all parties. Moreover, historically, immigration has been a net positive for the federal budget, improving the long-run fiscal condition of the United States.”
Today’s young Americans can’t forego the positive impact of a more open immigration system on the economy as they suffer from high levels of unemployment. They need the boost it will give, now.
In addition, it’s clear that Social Security and Medicare are headed toward insolvency. Keeping millions of workers off the official tax rolls speeds up this process. As Treasury Secretary Jack Lew put it, “As we bring millions of immigrants onto the payroll, that means hundreds of millions of dollars into the Social Security Trust Fund over the next 10 years. It means tens of billions of dollars into the Medicare Trust Fund.”