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Immigration expert on Insight

On Capital Public Radio’s Insight this afternoon, economist Giovanni Peri talks about his latest study on the impact of immigration on jobs.

Peri’s study of wages of working conditions in California from 1990 to 2004 shows that immigration actually increased the wages of native-born workers by an average of 4 percent. That’s because immigrants and native-born workers have different skills and do somewhat different kinds of jobs. Rather, immigrants compete with each other for jobs.

“The big message is that there is no big loss from immigration,” Peri told the LA Times. “There are gains, and these are enjoyed by a much bigger share of the population than is commonly believed.”

“Most of the immigrants, because their skills are different from U.S.-born workers, take different jobs than American workers take,” he continued in the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s not one labor market for everybody, but different markets for different skills and tasks. The overall effect could be more productivity and higher wages.”

In the Sacramento Bee, Peri said that ‘California’s experience “makes a good economic case” for reforming the U.S. immigration system to allow more immigrants to enter legally to perform work.’

Readers commenting on the Bee story were not so impressed, however.

The full report, which was sponsored by the Public Policy Institute of California, is available here.

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