Colorado State University Philosophy Professor Authors Study on Immigration Reform

A Colorado State University philosophy professor has authored a new study that examines the impact of uncontrolled immigration on America’s poor. The study reflects on national trends, but includes in-depth interviews with northern Colorado workers.

The new policy brief, “The Economic Impacts of Mass Immigration into the United States and the Proper Progressive Response" reveals that current immigration policies widen income inequalities and concentrate immigration’s harms upon those Americans least able to afford them.

The study was released by the non-profit organization Progressives for Immigration Reformation and written by Philip Cafaro, associate professor of philosophy at Colorado State University.

Among key findings in the study:

• Increased immigration has swamped American labor markets with less-skilled, less-educated workers, driving down wages for working-class Americans.
• Government data show that when adjusted for inflation, average wages in some industries with high numbers of foreign workers are 45 percent lower than in 1980.
• Among the biggest economic losers of current high levels of immigration are poor Americans, ethnic minorities and older immigrants. There is no evidence of a labor shortage at the lower end of the labor market.

Cafaro argues that overall, current immigration policies further economic inequality in the United States.

"In today’s economic environment, when many Americans are suffering from unemployment, job displacement and stagnant or declining wages, our government should set immigration levels that work for America’s poorest citizens, rather than against them," said Cafaro. "Although the United States is a wealthy nation that can and should do its best to help poor people in other countries, basic fairness requires that we not do so on the backs of poor Americans."

The full publication can be viewed at