When President Trump said last week that the U.S. was full, he was reprising one of the dominant themes of his presidency: Immigration is harmful. The facts suggest otherwise. Not only do many studies show that immigrants are a net positive for the economy, their contribution amplifies with subsequent generations.
Thats the message of new research that looks at the lingering effects of the first great wave of newcomers to the U.S. between 1850 and 1920. These immigrants came with limited education and skills. Yet it seems their arrival continues to pay dividends a century or more later.
The economists who conducted the study crafted a rigorous analysis by demonstrating an exceedingly strong statistical relationship between two variables that defined communities in the U.S.: the intensity of railroad connections and the inflow of immigrants.
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