New Report: Good Immigration Policy Creates a Stronger American Middle Class

DobbsThe myth that immigration is bad for U.S. workers has sullied the immigration debate for far too long. A new report by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy (DMI), “Principles for an Immigration Policy to Strengthen and Expand the American Middle Class: 2009 Edition,” sets the record straight. In the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and in anticipation of a new round of legislative debates on comprehensive immigration reform, DMI’s report makes a rational, concise argument for why comprehensive immigration reform is needed to improve the conditions for middle class Americans.

DMI states that “good immigration policy should be good for every American,” and designs a two-part litmus test to evaluate immigration policies:

  • Immigration policy should bolster—not undermine—the critical contributions immigrants make to our economy as workers, entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and consumers; and
  • Immigration policy must strengthen the rights of immigrants in the workplace. Using these two guidelines, Congress can create and implement an immigration policy that is good for middle class Americans.

Bolstering Immigrant Contributions
DMI refutes the myth that our economy is a closed, zero-sum system. When immigrants are working in the U.S., many assume they simply take jobs away from Americans. The fact is that immigrants contribute to the growth of the economy as workers, taxpayers, and consumers. The middle class relies on the goods and services produced by immigrants, and benefits from the generalized economic growth immigrants stimulate. Immigrants spend money, thereby creating demand and jobs. Immigrants pay taxes, helping to shore up Social Security and other programs middle class workers depend upon.

Enforcement-only policies only undermine the contributions that immigrants make. Rather, immigration reform should harness the positive contributions of immigrants, thus improving the lives of middle class Americans.

Strengthening Rights in the Workplace
Under the current system, undocumented workers are vulnerable and exploitable, living at the mercy of their employers—to the detriment of both the immigrants and middle class Americans. The current recession increases employers’ incentive to cut costs by taking advantage of cheaper undocumented workers.

As long as a cheaper and more compliant pool of immigrant labor is available to employers who are willing to wield the threat of deportation against their workers, those same employers will be less willing to hire U.S.-born workers if they demand better wages and working conditions.

Ensuring that immigrant workers and native workers are on a level playing field—the same enforceable rights, the same ability to complain—makes for better conditions for everyone. If immigrants are empowered to exercise workplace rights, they can improve their own working conditions, making the jobs more desirable, and more jobs can become “middle class jobs.”


DMI concludes that comprehensive immigration reform, including permanent legal status for immigrant workers, is necessary. Perhaps Lou Dobbs, self-appointed champion of the American middle class worker, should read the fact included in DMI’s report and discover he’s got it wrong—immigration reform would be a boost for American workers he claims to speak for.

Michele Waslin

Republished with permission from Immigration Impact.

LA Progressive


  1. Brittancus says

    There should be emphasis on E-Verify being adopted by every business in America, mandatory or not? Now that it’s locked into the US workers psyche, it should be evident to the pro-illegal immigrant groups that–THE PEOPLE–are not letting go of this computer illegal immigrant enforcement application without a fight. It has been ridiculed and ostracized by the US Chamber of Commerce and subjected to federal lawsuits by the anti-sovereignty groups as the ACLU. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but when the Council of Foreign Relation intolerable globalist and internationalists get involved with America’s immigration face-off, you really wonder what their true agenda is? GOOGLE– across the Internet and understand their plan for the free flow of low income labor in every available industry including Agricultural jobs.

    This quasi agency was the machine involved with the inception of NAFTA. Coincidentally, I recall that President Obama and his administration addressed the general public that he would renegotiate the treaties of NAFTA and CAFTA? So far this has not materialized, nor has his promise to implement an open transparent government? He is following the same illusory lines as the Bush presidency, other than National security–remaining secretive?

    E-Verify is a very powerful immigration tool that is a composite of the SAVE ACT. Around the country it’s building in momentum as more and more companies are intending to use it? It could additionally have multiple future uses, including detecting illegal aliens applying for driver’s licenses. It could also be adapted to apprehend any foreign nationals who apply in any health care reform or any other government benefit. By overturning the 1986 Immigration legislation and enacting a new AMNESTY the American population lose culturally and financially. Another possibility is checking the status of individuals admitted to higher education or schools. Its availability is a free service on the web, by accessing both Homeland Security and the Social Security databases. On an ongoing basis it is seemingly the principle tool to detour anybody who is stealing jobs from the legal population.

    It almost succumbed to Democratic leadership, because both Sen Reid and Pelosi had an ulterior motive to kill E-Verify and other immigration enforcement weapons. Having massive illegal immigrant occupation in both Nevada and California and an escalating need to financially support the millions already thriving in all Border States. YOU CAN HELP AMERICAN WORKERS IN THIS JOBLESS SETTINGS AND HALT ANY NEW AMNESTY BY CONTACTING YOUR POLITICIANS AT 202-224-3121. NUMBERSUSA, JUDICIAL WATCH & CAPSWEB have many of the true answers for you to decide.

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