We are often told that America must have very high levels of immigration — otherwise, businesses will be deprived of the labor needed to expand. CEOs from retail to technology have recently made this case, as have allied politicians from both sides of the aisle.
But is it really true?
The period between 2016 and 2019 represents a good test of this argument because both legal and illegal immigration fell substantially. If immigration enthusiasts were right, the economy should have sputtered, but that’s not what happened. In fact, GDP grew, inflation remained low, and — perhaps most significantly — wages for less educated American workers not only grew but grew at a faster rate than for high-skill workers. . . .