America or Bust: Still the Land of Opportunity?

Jun 19, 2007Jun 20, 2007
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building


Session One: Tuesday, June 19th
Immigration Integration: How Does the U.S. Economy Absorb Immigrants?
Dr. Pia M. Orrenius
Senior Economist and Policy Advisor
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Click Here to view Dr. Orrenius' presentation.

Session Two: Wednesday, June 20th
Reach for the Stars: The Cost and Benefits of High Skilled Immigration
Dr. Antony Davies 

Associate Professor of Economics
Duquesne University 

Click Here to view Dr. Davies' presentation.

As a nation, the United States has come a long way since the days of Ellis Island.  The U.S. has continued to be remarkably adept at absorbing and integrating immigrants into the economy, but are there limits?  As policy makers debate this very question in the halls of Congress and on the streets of their districts, it becomes clear that it is much more than a yes or no question.

Immigration is often dissected into various distinctions; legal vs. illegal, low skilled vs. high skilled.  These distinctions have varying effects on the American economy and add complexity to immigration legislation.  To address these distinctions and the economic factors that accompany them, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will host a two-day program to provide policy makers with the latest research on immigration's impact on the American economy.  By stepping back from the political debate, policy makers will be able to engage leading researchers on the realities of immigration and work to dispel popular myths surrounding this controversial topic.

Participants will leave with economic tools to use when analyzing and creating legislation.  The two-day program will seek to answer the following questions on the current immigration debate:

  • How successful is the American economy in absorbing and integrating immigrants? Which sectors benefit the most? Which sectors struggle?
  • What are the economic effects of low-skilled immigrants? Who tends to gain from an increase in low-skilled immigration? Who loses?
  • How does high-skilled immigration have an impact on the American economy? How do high-skilled immigrants add to or subtract from the American labor force?