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Faculty Mentor

Joseph Santos, Timothy Nichols

Abstract

Although it is known as a country of immigrants, immigration has always been a controversial issue in the United States. Despite being a well-discussed topic for centuries, many citizens still suffer from false assumptions about immigration. The objective of this research was to investigate the impacts of immigration liberalization and to address commonly held assumptions about the impact of immigration. Both pro and anti-immigration literature was examined, with a focus on free market economics and the moral impacts of immigration policy. It was determined that liberalizing immigration fits within both left and right-leaning ideologies in the American political spectrum. Free migration is shown to be a crucial aspect of free market policies, although right-leaning groups who promote the economic philosophy often ignore it. The often-misunderstood secondary or long run economic benefits of immigration liberalization are explained, with evidence given regarding immigration’s positive effects on economic growth. Immigration liberalization is also shown to be crucial to human rights, as it provides people with the freedom to work where their labor is demanded. This gives impoverished immigrants a real chance to improve their standards of living as well as those of their family members living in their native countries. More open borders are also explained as a way to help spur economic growth in underdeveloped countries. For these reasons, immigration liberalization fits into many progressively liberal agendas. Rebuttals to the arguments of anti-immigration groups are also provided. Finally, policy recommendations are given that consider both pro and anti-immigration arguments. It is suggested that developed countries, with a focus on the United States, liberalize their immigration policies by letting more immigrants into the country to match their economies’ demand for their labor. The findings of the paper are significant to society at large because they help to show that the economic and moral benefits of immigration liberalization far outweigh the apparent problems that many developed country citizens associate with immigration.

Included in

Economics Commons

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