The change in immigration policy that could most affect the US’ long-term economic growth is at risk of falling out of the debate as the congressional maneuvering over the volatile issue intensifies.
With Republicans, under the shadow of former President Donald Trump, still mostly opposing all forms of immigration, and many Democrats narrowing their focus toward legalizing as many undocumented immigrants as possible, revisions to the nation’s system of legal immigration may lack a plausible pathway to congressional passage, many participants in the legislative discussions say.
Yet immigration experts and economists across the ideological spectrum agree that increasing the future flow of legal immigrants will be essential to driving economic growth and maintaining a sustainable balance between the number of working-age people paying taxes and retired Americans drawing benefits through Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements for the elderly. That pressure is especially acute because the latest census data suggest the nation’s population may have grown more slowly from 2010 to 2020 than over any other 10-year span in American history – an ominous dynamic that’s received little attention from either party.
The Blind Spot in the Immigration Debate
Ronald Brownstein, CNN Politics, February 23, 2021
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