There is a heated discussion elsewhere on No Left Turns concerning the economic effects of immigration. In 2002, I published an academic article on this subject in the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy. The article relied on numerous economic and legal studies, including several books and peer-reviewed articles by Harvard economist George J. Borjas, as well as a thorough study published by the National Research Council in 1997.
I concluded, based on the economic studies available at that time, that the United States would benefit from more liberalized immigration laws. Among my proposals was a new guest-worker program between the United States and Mexico. I believed both then and now that a temporary guest-worker program would relieve many of the market pressures that lead to illegal immigration. That proposal turned out to be very similar to one made by President Bush in January 2004. Economics aside, I also believe that a guest-worker program could improve national security. With an effective guest-worker program, illegal immigration would decrease. Large amounts of manpower and other resources that are currently spent combating illegal immigration could then be more specifically targeted toward security threats.
Whether one agrees with my conclusions or not, I encourage readers to review some of the sources cited within the article. I particularly recommend that those interested in this area read the study published by the National Research Council, which is summarized at this link. It is a very thorough analysis that calculates the estimated taxes paid and costs imposed by immigrants, including an accounting of the estimated fiscal impact of immigrants’ descendants.