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Immigration may be key to growing the U.S. economy

| Dec 21, 2016 | Immigration and Naturalization

The recently-confirmed election of Donald Trump has led to a lot of speculation on whether the President-elect will follow through with his campaign promises on immigration. As January looms larger, observers are considering how those promises might interact with Trump’s other promises, particularly his intention to double the growth rate of the U.S. economy while in power.

An NPR article today argues that this level of growth is only possible by increasing the country’s workforce and increasing productivity. The mass retirement of a large number of baby-boomers is creating black holes of underemployment in numerous areas, including construction, trucking and skilled manufacturing labor. So how do we fill the gaps and get America working again?

According to economist Robert J. Gordon, immigration could be the solution. The NPR article points out that in the last 20 years, half the growth in the labor force has come from immigration. With Trump vowing to clamp down on immigration and deport illegal migrants, an even greater void could emerge in America’s workforce.

Meanwhile, Trump’s comments on the immigration of skilled workers have caused additional concern. Quoting Trump’s remarks that the H-1B visa pathway for high-skilled foreign workers is “very, very bad for workers,” a CNN article notes that new tech startups are struggling to attract the talent they need. Foreign engineers are increasingly unwilling to risk being caught in a potential nightmare of visa reform without the backing of a bigger company’s legal resources, and startups are unable to fill the gaps from the domestic labor pool.

While it remains to be seen whether these issues will become more problematic after January’s inauguration, skilled immigration attorneys nationwide are preparing for a potential deluge of legal complications and challenges. It is clear, though, that the health of the U.S. economy will rely on a more considered approach to immigration than that displayed on the campaign trail.

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