Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?* 


  • * 

    I am grateful to Christian Dustmann, Thomas Lemieux, Ethan Lewis, Stephen Machin and two anonymous referees for helpful suggestions, and to Florence Neymotin for outstanding research assistance. Partial funding for this work was provided by the NICHD.


This article reviews the recent evidence on US immigration, focusing on two key questions: (1) Does immigration reduce the labour market opportunities of less skilled natives? (2) Have immigrants who arrived after the 1965 Immigration Reform Act been successfully assimilated? Overall, evidence that immigrants have harmed the opportunities of less educated natives is scant. On the question of assimilation, the success of the US-born children of immigrants is a key yardstick. By this metric, post-1965 immigrants are doing reasonably well. Even children of the least educated immigrant origin groups have closed most of the education gap with the children of natives.