But some of the wounds might be self-inflicted if a more risk-averse, pandemic-shocked society and government pursue populist, “drawbridge up” responses to the pandemic. Case in point: Trump suspending immigration to protect jobs. While the measure is supposedly temporary, it gives aid and comfort to the notion that immigrants are bad for the economy. That simply isn’t true. The latest piece of evidence is a new NBER working paper, “Immigration, Innovation, and Growth,” which demonstrates the positive impact immigrants continue to have on American economic dynamism and innovation. From the paper: “The significant increase in local wages suggests immigration not only affects innovation and creative destruction, but also the overall level of economic growth.”
Or as legendary investor Warren Buffett said the other day at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting (live-streamed, of course) while marveling at the “miracle” and “magic” of the American economy: “Can you imagine that? For 231 years, there’s always been people that have wanted to come here.” And it would be a very bad thing if they stopped coming. Immigrants account for nearly half of the U.S. workforce with a science or engineering doctorate. In Silicon Valley, 64 percent of engineers are foreign-born. Indeed, more than half of U.S. startup “unicorns” have at least one immigrant co-founder.