High levels of immigration in the past 15 years do not appear to have hurt employment opportunities for American workers, according to a new report.
The Pew Hispanic Center analyzed immigration state by state using U.S. Census data, evaluating it against unemployment levels. No clear correlation between the two could be found.
Other factors, such as economic growth, have likely played a larger role in influencing the American job market, said Rakesh Kochhar, principal author of the report and an economist at the Pew Hispanic Center in the District.
"We are simply looking for a pattern across 50 states, and we did not find one," Kochhar said. "We cannot say with certainty that growth in the foreign population has hurt or helped American jobs."
Immigration policy is a central issue in this fall's congressional elections. The report's findings appear to refute the idea -- often voiced by supporters of stricter immigration laws -- that foreign workers depress wages and take jobs from American workers, especially those with less education and fewer skills.
In the 10 states with the top employment rates from 2000 to 2004, for example, five states showed a high influx of immigrants while the other five showed little growth in the foreign-born population. "Even in relatively slow economic times, a relationship fails to reveal itself," Kochhar said.
Gotta love the Pew Hispanic Center, they do some really great stuff. It seems the job situation has so little to do with immigration that the general economic tide of the moment completely overshadows the effect of immigration on the job market.