Dean Baker on Immigration's 'Mixed Bag'

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on November 11, 2010

Some straightforward comments on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program this morning from Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Said Baker:

"Immigration has positives and has negatives. If you have more immigrants in the country, you have more demand. They can put strain on school systems. I think what we really have to say is: what type of immigrants are we going to prioritize. To date for the most part, most of our immigration has been in the less-skilled segment of the work force, which means we get low-cost workers in, say, the restaurant industry, agriculture, other areas. But that means U.S. workers that may not have a lot of skills and may otherwise look to work in those industries, in effect, are shut out from them. And some of those people go unemployed and end up working for very, very low wages. That segment of our labor market is in really bad shape right now. We have to recognize we're going to have immigration. The question is, you know, what that should look like. And it's going to be a mixed bag. There's going to be positives and negatives."

Watch Baker's full interview here.