Immigration and the American Underclass

I’m hoping that immigration reform happens sooner rather than later.  In the meantime, some positive news about the effects of immigration on the “underclass” was released today by the Cato Institute.

Free Trade Bulletin no. 38: As Immigrants Move In, Americans Move Up | Cato’s Center for Trade Policy Studies

As plausible as the argument sounds, it is not supported by the social and economic trends of the past 15 years. Even though the number of legal and illegal immigrants in the United States has risen strongly since the early 1990s, the size of the economic underclass has not. In fact, by several measures the number of Americans living on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder has been in a long-term decline, even as the number of immigrants continues to climb. Other indicators associated with the underclass, such as the crime rate, have also shown improvement. The inflow of low-skilled immigrants may even be playing a positive role in pushing nativeborn Americans up the skills and income ladder.