Meeting the Economy's Labor Needs Through Immigration

Rationale and Challenges

by Georges Vernez, Kevin F. McCarthy


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This Note describes the upward trend of immigration in the United States and the desirability and feasibility of current and proposed immigration policies as management tools for U.S. labor market needs. It explores the challenges policymakers face in developing immigration policy — in particular, the economic tradeoffs, the nation's absorptive capacity, and the foreign policy issues. It discusses five key conditions necessary for efficient, effective operation of an immigration policy that will address the U.S. economy's labor needs. However, development of effective, humanitarian immigration policies are made difficult by the lack of data on (1) permanent or temporary immigrants who have entered the country under family, labor market, or other categories; (2) these immigrants' labor force experiences; and (3) the cumulative effects of sustained high levels of immigration.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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