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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 28, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT

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fence. and people say we need 2,000. as secretary chertoff know and the people of mexico know, there's easily accessible areas but you can't put fences in mountains and things of that sort. it's about triangulating drones, it's about exchange betwein electronic intelligence between both governments. it's interesting that the atlantic council has this conversation in the two settingsettings segments, one is the security portion and the economic portion, but they're really integrated, if you think about it. we've been blessed as a country to have good neighbors to the north and good neighbors to the south. we have to do what we can to preserve that. i remember in 2001, before the end of the year, before we even talked about a department, president bush said we need to sit down with the leaders of both countries and develop a smart border agreement, a smart border accord, where we can
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integrate our mutual interest but also ensure it doesn't impede our flow of services across the border. when it comes to security, it's pretty well embedded. it's intelligence sharing. it's drones. it's 20,000 customs and border protection agents. security is fine, but i think one of the unsung relationships that has proven pretty valuable to both countries is the sentry program where we prescreen millions of -- prescreen individual mexican citizens coming b back and forth across e program, and the secure trade, where people agree to a certain compliance regimen from the manufacturer to the warehouse to the driver to the ultimate importer and they expedite the trade. from day one the relationship has been, okay, it's in our mutual interests to preserve a secure border, to try to manage that risk as best we can, but
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let's do it in a way that doesn't impede this extraordinary trade relationship we have. >> so -- >> one other thing real quick. i got a threat matrix every day, every day. five, six days a week. some days it would be a couple of pages, some days a couple of dozen pages. i can't think of a single time when the intelligence community, when i was there, ever suggested on any single occasion, we had a problem with a potential terrorist crossing from our friends in mexico. >> why are they coming in from canada or somewhere else? >> i don't want to knock canada, because the canadians are great partners and we share a lot of intelligence with them. but there were communities in canadian that had come in over the years from parts of the world which did in fact become radicalized and these radicalized communities did attract some people to come in, maybe with generous asylum, and some portion of those people wound up becoming potentially
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threatening to the u.s. in other words, there was a tendency for the communities themselves, because of their makeup and history, to be, you know, potential launching pads for admittedly a small number, but still a nontrivial number of terrorists. mexico didn't have that. there wasn't really a significant community there. people from parts of the world where radicalization was taking place. again, as tom said, we had a good sharing relationship with the mexicans, including sharing visibility, who was coming in from overseas and traveling in. so we could help each other out. >> what do you think of the wall, the famous wall? if you build a 2,050-foot wall, do you then build a ladder? >> i think the wall is one of a number of tools. if you have an axe, you don't use an axe for example to hammer a nail into a wall. you use a hammer. you have to use the right tool
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for the right job. we built principally in areas where a border or a town or highway was relatively short. the idea was to slow up people coming in illegally so they could be intercepted. it doesn't make wall to build a wall in an impassable area or -- for example, the rio grande is wide. other tools are more important. surveillance, intelligence, unmanned air vehicles. one of the most important tools is what we do inside the country. many of the people who come to the country illegally, and again, most of them are not mexican, they come from other parts of the world, including other parts of latin america, most of them are coming to work. and if people are willing to hire those who don't have work authority or authority to be in the country, that's going to be a huge magnet. so dealing with that issue of employment becomes important. the second thing, sadly, is more and more of the people coming from latin america are fleeing
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violence and failed states. as we see in certain parts of central america. it's the same thing that drives a lot of people out of syria. if we don't address the problem at its source and try to help the rule of law regain a footing in central america, people are going to continue to flee because their lives are at risk. >> before we talk about central america and what will make things safer, i just want to quickly, since it's so much in the news, quickly hear about, what do you think of this big giant wall we keep hearing about? does it make sense? >> i don't want to be too political, but i prefer presidents that tear down walls rather than build them. that's just a political point of view. and i think the sad thing about it is, everybody's been running away from the notion that if you had a truly integrated system where men and women from mexico and central and south america come back and forth across the border prescreened, you wouldn't need more than 700 miles of
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fence. you wouldn't need an additional security member. you wouldn't need another customs and border protection agent. we don't have the means where people can lawfully go back and forth. i think it's a little arrogant for americans to think that every mexican or somebody from central or south america wants to come here to be an american citizen. it's not true. >> and the fact is migration has been steadily dropping from mexico. >> there's also misinformation, i think, about the number of illegals in this country that are of mexican heritage. i think we've heard estimates that almost half of them flew in lawfully, and they stayed. the government gave us money to build the entry system, but we're sitting on millions and millions of fingerprints and photographs of people who came here and we never made sure they left. it's an almost a diversion from a really important and difficult issue, and is that is, how can we, with a neighbor, develop a sophisticated system, probably
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based on biometrics, where people can come back and forth across the border. it's like taking sentry and putting it on steroids. and if we did that, you don't need the wall. but it's like, oh, the easier thing to do is say i'll build a wall. i don't think you want to build a wall with a neighbor. >> do you want to weigh in on this? >> first of all, there's a lot of legal mexican migrations to the united states, family reunification, people who are petitioned for by their relatives. i remember back in my time, i think it was a decade going forward, 100,000 people a year gaining legal entry into the united states, getting their green cards and eventually citizenship. we mustn't forget that. there's another reason you don't want a wall. it's dangerous out there. these terrible stories about dozens if not hundreds getting killed coming across illegally. we want some sort of orderly
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system between the two countries. and that would include, as governor ridge said, some kind of mechanism where people can go back and forth and get employment. the german guest worker program is not a bad idea. by not having that kind of program, by abolishing it in 1965, when lbj did under pressure from the afl-cio, there was no mechanism for people to come here legally to work and go back to their country because they had to face the prospect of going illegally again. so they stayed and eventually brought their families over. by cancelling the program, we increased mexican migration to the united states, i'm convinced of that. >> in an era where millions of people cheer the idea of a wall, maybe because of not understanding the whole issue, what are some other solutions with the goal of making it more
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orlando? you're talking about a new guest worker program? can we talk about some solutions, if the idea is -- that's doable in this climate. >> a lot of things you need to do. you need to look at this as a system. i think both john and tom are right that in some ways we've created our own problem, by making it so difficult to come back and forth, that those who come in don't want to leave again. let me also say that you can't build a wall high enough that there's not a ladder to go over or a tunnel to go underneath. some of those tunnels are really sophisticated. so here is what you do. first you look at, i think promoting economic development in mexico and other parts of latin america helps keep jobs there. i think establishing rule of law and order in parts of central america stops people from fleeing for their lives. having a legitimate guest worker program that satisfies the needs of american employers but gives people the ability to come and
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go with proper identification and proper tracking, answers two needs. the desire of people to work and the desire of employers to have workers. and experience shows that if you create that kind of a program, most of the people coming from overseas or from another country don't want to permanently settle here. they want to work and they want to go back. i think these are some of the things we can do if our leaders were honest with the american people about how to solve the problem instead of coming up with something that sounds like a nifty slogan but actually makes no sense at all. >> can i just add one? i don't know if you'll agree with this or not, but enforce our immigration laws too. >> yes. >> domestically. we used to always treat this as just a border problem. it's not just a border problem. it's a domestic labor issue. >> absolutely. >> in talking recently in mexico to vicente fox and to calderoca
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they were talking emphatically about the importance of a good relationship overall with the u.s. president. just wondering, i don't think people tend to think they have that much leverage. do they? why does it matter that whoever is in the white house gets along with the president of mexico? >> i think in the world offa poliof geopolitics, establishing a trustful, respectful relationship, understanding that sovereigns will have their differences, but in that trusted relationship you try to minimize them and really focus on the things to your mutual benefit. i think one of the challenges, and nobody has said it here, but i will again be a little bit different, i think the mexican government, if we had a better relationship with them, could and should do more in in terms of the flow of illegals. they said they would spend $2.3
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million to support the mexico government's effort to deal with the contraband running, the drug runners, immigration to the southern border. i think a good, constructive relationship, a real personal relationship between leaders between any two countries, i think it matters immeasurably. >> you brought up central america, a hot, hot issue here. a lot of people are saying president obama is working with mexico on the southern border of mexico because a lot of the immigrants are coming through central america. but you have a lot of human rights people that say they're fleeing kind of horrible lives. do we have the right policy there? are we being -- and we hit this right that we're supposed to be so harsh in turning them back, using mexico to turn back central americans at the border of southern mexico? >> well, i mean, i think a suggestion had been made that we have hoff a holistic policy.
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dealing just with the migration issue isn't going to get there for you. you've got to focus also on what's going to make central america better. i'm sad to say, as somebody who was ambassador to honduras in 1981, 35 years ago, that the situation in central america today, particularly in the northern tier of central america, is far worse than it was 35 years ago, in many, many respects, especially because of the gangs. i think we've got to help them, to help make things right down in central america. >> i think we have time for an a couple of audience questions too. >> i want to put an exclamation point on that. this is a classic example where m america doesn't necessarily have to be nor necessarily should be in the lead. their neighbor, mexico. if you had that kind of relationship i talked about, that trusting relationship, you work with your friends and allies in mexico to help them do
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what they think is necessary to support those economies. >> so you think it's right to be working with mexico? >> john pointed out, it's got to be a collaborative enterprise. americans should be supportive of our friends in mexico, whether it's an economics or whatever it is, as they deal with their neighbors. it's in our interests to do so. >> we have time for a couple of audience questions. if you raise your hand and say who you are. >> could i get your opinion about mr. trump's idea to deport 11 million mexican immigrants if he gets to the white house? secondly, president obama and the prime minister are meeting on wednesday. is there anything they can accomplish about their relationship in north america? >> i'll take the second one first. i attended a number of those
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meetings. i found they were very useful, again, particularly in promoting sharing of intelligence, common economic policies, things of that sort. on the first, as i've said publicly, i think it is delusional to believe you're going to deport 11 million people unless you repeal the constitution and put everybody to work as an immigration inspector. so i mean, i think it's nonsensical. in fact, again, as i think john said, if you enforced the rule against employers who employ people illegally, you'll have a far greater impact and it will be a legal way to go about it than if you somehow suggest the fantasy that you're going to round people up and send them back. >> i just want to add something to that. i think the notion of identifying and sending back is delusional, it's a bumper sticker solution, but it's never going to happen.
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secondly, of the 11 billion mere, probably only half are from central and south america. that narrows it down. those who have come here illegally by and large came here to work, to add value, and they have. my view is that you simply create -- again, as part of an overall immigration package. i would like to see, when people say, we've got to do this and this first, sequencing it, i think we can walk and chew gum at the same time. i think we'll have stronger enforcement but i also think we can create a separate classification to legitimize their presence. we don't have to make them citizens. but if you brought in 100 illegals here who haven't broken the law, who are raising their families and adding value, and we say, look, we have to get you out of the shadows, you're doing some good now but we want you to be visible, you could be a resident but you can't be a citizen, 99 out of a hundred could take it. >> i think congress could pass
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it. i was involved in dealing with this issue when i was in office, we spent a lot of time on this. i think the majority of members of congress could get on board with something along the lines of what tom said. if you poll consistently the american people, my experience is 60 to 70% support this. i know there are some people who are passionately and vocally against it. but the reality is that if you look at what the majority wants and what makes sense, if you want to fix the problem, doing exactly what tom says, which is having a structured way for people to work, legitimately come out of the shadows, pay their taxes, pay the social security, is one of the best tools you have to reduce the amount of your legal flow that otherwise comes into the country. >> go ahead. >> hi. my name is simone. i'm a student with american university.
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we're talking about the imimmigration issue which naturally comes outline when you're speaking about the mexican border. i wanted to know if there are other issues we should be thinking about when it comes to national security. you briefly mentioned the mexico cartels, you briefly highlighted economic concerns. i'm just curious if there are other national security interests we should be considering. >> there's one there, and it goes to the leaders' meeting, i think all three of us attended these trip papatripartite meeti took place once a year. since mexico is a source of opium, i hope the leaders agree to rachet up the efforts against the flow of those substances. i don't know what the chances are of suck succecess, but i tht would be a worthy area of additional dedicated effort. >> i agree. the issue of transnational crime, not limited to mexico but
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is a serious issue in latin america and other parts of the world, needs a lot of more attention, because these organizations recall challenge the ability of governments to manage their own countries. so they do pose in my mind a national security threat and something that we, again, have a collaborative interest in working to prevent. >> i meant to say heroin. >> let's see. who really wants to ask a question? okay. these are the last two. go ahead and we'll get to you. >> first of all i wanted to thank you for -- i'm here as a mexican citizen, a u.s. citizen. the wonders of north america. first of all, i want to thank you for the theme of the conversation. i really think it really issued go without saying, but we do need to build a narrative that mexico and the u.s., our
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economies are very closely linked. we're among each other's biggest trading partners. and this narrative about jobs going to mexico and leaving the u.s. actually is a very incomplete picture. mexico's high end manufacturing industry is actually bringing a lot of high value, high paying jobs to the u.s. but i'm more than glad to cite some examples individually. but i want to move away for one moment from the very positive picture of the integrated north american market to talk a bit about firearms smuggling into mexico. according to data from the government accountability office, from 2009 to 2014, upwards of 70,000 firearms that were -- >> they're going fast, right? >> yes. going south. a lot of them are illegally but also legally acquired. so can you speak to -- >> this actually is a big issue
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in mexico. >> the southward movement of firearms. thank you. >> thank you. >> i thought he made a statement, i didn't hear a question. >> he's talking about an issue in mexico. >> it is huge, the southward flow of arms and also bulk cash have both been big issues. steps have been taken to try and improve it. we have this e-trace mechanism and all of that. but it's very hard, because it is illegal to export a weapon from the united states without a license. but it's not illegal to buy one. and you get one and then you send it across. it's very hard to enforce it. >> right here. yes, you had a question. right behind you, sorry. thanks. >> hi. thank you. i work at george washington university. i really appreciated your discussion of solutions and especially thinking about a holistic policy.
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so my question is how can we account for the strengths and limitations of each port of entry? that's to say, is one border policy towards security, towards immigration, towards trade, going to work across all 2,000 miles? or is there a way we can think about each port of entry as playing a specific role in that project? and also, if that is the case, how are we going to get municipal, state, county officials on board? thank you. >> let me start. obviously i think you're quite right that there are different economic and personal issues that apply at each of the ports of entry. that's separate from what goes on between the ports of entry, where of course obviously we want to stop people from coming across without, you know, proper authorization. i think we can do a number of things. as tom pointed out, programs that prescreen and identify
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people who are regular travelers help speed things along. i think frankly our infrastructure at many of the ports of entry is out moded, so you get those very long lines. there would be a real value in compressing the capacity at each of the ports of entry. i think modern technology gives us more and more opportunity to track and match that up with respect to what we need to know about people before we admit them. i think if we applied all these elements, we could have a more smoothly flowing set of travelers moving across the ports of entry. we would be more secure and we would actually produce economic value, particularly for those regions that are basically add adjacent to the border. >> we're running out of time, but i wanted to ask you one final thought. following on what you said, there's been a lot of talk about improving infrastructure on the border, about getting better technology that would help both the economic side and national
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security. so let's look out five years from now, at the national security relationship between washington and mexico city. right now it's pretty bad. i mean, i think on the street there's just a lot of rhetoric, there's a lot of parties in mexico that are not saying nice things about americans and back and forth. again, when you follow the trump campaign, it's amazing all the signs you see about mexican rapists and criminals. how do you predict it will be different if five years, the relationship between these two countries, especially with focus on security relationship? >> well, nobody is going to jump into that frying pan, so i will. i think a large -- regardless of who prevails in the national election, i'm hopeful that
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whoever their secretary of commerce is, whoever their secretary of state is, whoever their secretary of department of homeland security is, because you really need to triangulate those three interests, are able to convince the president, whoever that might be, of the critical security and economic relationship we have. because i think it's been basically ignored. this is not a criticism of the incumbent white house, but i think he met three or four times with the prime minister of india, and that's a very important geopolitical relationship and a strategic relationship. i'm not sure we've spent enough time consulted cultivating, cul our relationship with south america. so whoever prevails. there's the second largest market for export goods. there are a million, 2 million americans exporting goods. you need the try angulation of interests to hopefully convince the president, whoever that might be, it is in our national
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security interests and national economic interests, because they're integrated, to pay a lot more attention to the mexican-u.s. relationship than we ever have before. >> i would agree with that and i would add, look more broadly at central and south america. that is our hemisphere. as important as it is to pay attention to what's going on in the middle east and europe, it's also as important to look at the stability and economic development in our own hemisphere, because that has a direct impact that, again, we often feel through the issue of migration. >> first of all, it's never as bad as it sounds. especially if you're hanging around the trump campaign, i'm sure you hear a lot of negative stuff. but i think it's going to be better five years from now. i think it's going to sink in even more to the american people that when you talk about latinos in this country, you're talking about the second largest ethnic group in the country, who will probably be close to something like 100 million strong by the
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year 2050. how on earth can you ignore an ethnic population as large as that? so it behooves us not only economically and politically and security-wise but socially, to take into proper account the presence and contribution of the latino and hispanic community in our country. >> a perfect place to end. thank you very much, i appreciate it. [ applause ] i know a couple of our panelists have to scoot off to airplanes but i encourage those who are here, we have an amazing panel coming up. until the meantime, i want you to watch this video, please. thank you. the recent presidential elections had a lot of nasty things to say about mexico. so what do you know about the u.s.-mexico relationship? did you know 14 million american jobs depend on nafta? did you know that mexico is the number one tourist destination for americans? did you know that eight out of ten avocados consumed in the
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u.s. are from mexico, or that wonder bread, and thomas' english muffins are owned by a mexican bakery? that mexico is the main auto parts supplier to the united states? did you know 6 million u.s. jobs are supported by trade with mexico? that mexico is the third largest trade partner in the united states? and a top export destination for 28 u.s. states. for every dollar of mexican exports to the u.s., 40% remains in the u.s. mexicans and mexican americans generate over 8% of u.s. gdp. that over a billion dollars crosses the rio grande every single day. did you know that more mexicans leave the united states than migrate to the united states? did you know that in 2015, 14 million american tourists spent $10 billion traveling in the united states? all this makes you wonder. does mexico really deserve all
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this blame? because now you know. [ applause ] and you thought the lang council watlantic council was a think tank. we're movie producers here. thank you all for taking an interest in mexico. we latin americanists tend to whine a lot about the fact that people don't pay a lot of attention to us, why don't we get talked about in political campaigns. and boy, suddenly we were surprised when mexico has taken such an outsized role in this political campaign. as jason said, mexico has really become the eye of the storm. and all of us who follow latin america and care about mexico and about the region are stunned by how mexico has basically
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turned into this poster child for all the ills that are ascribed to immigration and all the ill than are ascribed to free trade. so i'm really delighted to be able to moderate this panel with two people who are really experts in the subject. secretary gutierrez, thank you. you're a friend and a visitor of this center. as all of you know, secretary gutierrez was the former secretary of commerce, the former ceo and chairman of kellogg, and is now reading a lot of the work with the business world on reconciliation with cuba. he's the chairman of the cuba business council at the camer about chamber of commerce. we're always happy to have you here as a guest. jace shambo is a member of the
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council of economic advisers. jason furman was called into a meeting with one person who is more important than us. we're thankful to have you today. you're a professor of economics at international affairs. jay is a voice on international issues. he is a professor at george washington university, has been a visiting scholar at the international monetary fund, and has been a visiting professor at a number of other american and european institutions. so thank you very much for coming today. secretary gutierrez, let me begin with you. and there's been a lot of discussion in this electoral cycle about trade relations and the impact that trade has on the american economy. and, you know, nowhere has that discussion been more acute than with mexico, and particularly with nafta. and tell us, sort of think forward a little bit, how is it
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going to be if our third large trading partner is suddenly delinked from our economy? how is that going to impact jobs? how is that going to be impact imports? how is that going to be impact exports? what is the effect going to be on the consumer? can you take us on a little bit of a tour, get on a magical carpet and take us on a tour. >> how is it going to be? it will be a disaster if we somehow cut trade relations with mexico. it will be a disaster for us, for the whole, you know, canada/mexico triangle. you have -- nafta is worth about somewhere above $1 trillion. and throughout the years, 25 y companies have been setting up supply chains. they have opened up warehouses in certain parts of this country, canada, the u.s., mexico, so that goods can flow
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readi readily. they have opened up plants in certain parts of each of the individual countries because that's where they get raw materials and they are able to ship and manufacture easily, so you have this infrastructure that is embedded that you can't just say, well, i'll just leave it there is and go. so i don't -- in terms of nafta, i don't even know how you would get started. here's the thing. for a government official to say nafta is bad, it's part of my campaign, people are buying it and they are going to vote for meso we're going to get rid of nafta, think about what you do to thousands and thousands of u.s. corporations who all of a sudden issen are turned upside down and they probably have to fire a lot of people. they have to pay huge write o s offs. they have to take a hit on their business. it's one of the craziest ideas
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or one of the crazier ideas that i have heard even in this campaign season. >> let me stick on the issue of nafta, if i may. there's been a lot of anti-trade rhetoric not only from one side, from all sides in this campaign. and some have really impugned nafta as an example of everything that trade should not be. can you take -- how is nafta worked out 20 years into this? >> i think one o of the really important things when people talk about trade policy is to recognize the difference between trade and trade policy. globalization is something that's happening regardless of what we do, and trade policy whether it's nafta or tpp or something like that is in some sense how we decide to shape those it factors that are going on. so i think in that sense, it's not just the trade. it's the technological shifts. i think people often look to a
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time before a given trade agreement existed and think, e well, were it not for that trade agreement, everything would look like that. that just is not what reality would look like. whether it's on a manufacturing floor or whether it's on how supply chains are set up, changes in information technology, changes in transportation technology as the secretary said have linked firms together in ways and supply chains together in ways that are different from 30 years ago. so it's not simply looking at the changes over time a question of nafta. what nafta allowed us to do, as the secretary said, link together more efficient supply chains across north america and integrate the economies in a way that really benefitted a lot of people. just on the really quick nerdy thing that people will sometimes focus on as trade economists is the thidea that one of the thin that happens when you expand markets is the better firms do
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better. that's important because the better firms are the more productive firms. they are the ones who pay higher wages. they employ a higher share of your economy so you get more people in those good jobs. that's one of the really important things through any of these issues that would raise the exporting ability of firms across all of north america, but in this case for u.s. firms is it means good firms grew faster. they were able to export more, which meant hired more people and pay on average about 18% more exporting firms than non-exporting firms. >> let me change this a little bit and in the previous panel our moderator had asked the national security experts what they thought of the wall. she covers the -- she's the national security -- international security correspondent for the "washington post," but covering the campaigns. so she mentioned skrr interestingly that she goes to a lot of the rallies and has seen
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a lot of people with pla cards and reck rit about the wall. there's two suggestions which is the wall and the round up of undocumented immigrants. so we talked about the national security implications. let's talk about the economic implications. i presume the wall would slow down trade and have trouble with agricultural exports. walk e me through the economic implications. >> the wall is a talking point. a bullet point on a chart that doesn't really mean much. the problem that we have to understand and for me it's at the core. the problem with immigration and the problem with illegal immigration is not that the wall isn't high enough. it's that our laws don't work. and our laws are outdated. and i'll give you some examples.
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and this was the recent senate bill that was going to be passed which is better than what we had. we have quota for agricultural workers of 110,000. if you talk to farmers around the country, they'll see we need about a million every year. well you can bring in 110,000 paraleg ly. what do you can do with the other 900,000? somehow you have to run your farm. so they are either closing down, sending the farm to mexico or just sell iing a lot less. i was talking to a restaurant owner the other day. this did it in terms of just visualizing it. if i had more workers i would have five more because i would be able to resource and then i would hire more u.s. citizen ises as well.
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you have people like microsoft that can't glet enough engineers so they are building in vancouver. so it really is a crazy debate because first of all it's broken because it's our fault. our congress has not done the job and they have not updated laws that are 50 years old. we have quotas that make it impossible for people to run a business, to make it impossible for the private sector. so the other solutions are temporary band-aids. they are not getting at the core issue. they come for one reason and one reason only and that's to work.
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just look around anywhere you see it. we wouldn't be able to run the economy if we didn't have them. the problem is it's a matter of providing a system. they can come in, go back home, come back in. they don't leave now because they won't get back in. there's a way of doing it. i think one thing we haven't tried that we should try is a bilateral immigration agreement where the private sector has to play a role. and they have to have a voice. because right now it's politicians deciding how many people the private sector needs. there's been a lot of discussion about immigrants and the secretary was just really very smart about looking at it. but i have heard the chairman of the president's council talk
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also about the issue of dwindling numbers of males in the labor force and how that really is an issue that can have a long-term effect on the u.s. economy. you have also talked about how immigrants can help mitigate the negative impact of this. can you lay that out for us and how that enters into this debate. >> i think one of the things if you look just at the most basic idea. if you take the senate bill that secretary just referenced, cbo's estimate that would raise output by 3.2% in the longer run. so i'm on the group that has to set the economic assumption and i can tell you we shed blood over the question of whether you raise or lower the growth rate. if you told us there was a button, that would be one of the
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biggest things we could possibly do. it connects to your other question as we look at whether it's declining labor force participation or whether it's possibility of productivity growth having slowed down. immigration reform can make substantial contributions on both those facts. if you reform immigration right now, it has real productivity impacts because you get people into the right jobs. so you have people who are in the shadows right now who can't necessarily be matched to the right jobs. if you suddenly fix that you have higher productivity. there's that side of it. other issues whether it's shift in dwoemocracy or labor force participation over time putting pressure on things like social security trust funds and having common sense immigration reform can do a lot to fix issues like that as well. most studies that look at this find that wages for native-born
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americans go up. i think this is similar to your point about the restaurant person who would hire more native born workers as well. those wages go up as well. you improve productivity and lift economic growth. everyone winds up doing better off. so i think it's one of these issues that lifting productivity is hard. lifting growth is hard. it's not that there are 20 things on a menu that say i don't think i'll do those. this is one that people don't argue over in terms of how much it would help. it would help a lot. you can argue over the magnitude, but it's big. it's something that would make a lot of sense. >> just to the point on demographics, which is a great point. the numbers shift, so i'll use one of the numbers i have heard. you can grow an economy two ways. the number of people you have working and the productivity of those people.
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so if you stopped immigration and said let's let the work force grow on the basis of who was here, i think the workforce would agree. i have seen numbers as low as .4%. .4 is not enough to e grow the economy. if you want to e grow it 2% and you have .4 workforce growth, you need 1.5% every year productivity. that's not easy. so it's a matter of numbers and it's arithmetic and it's very clear. but we get sidetracked on issues that have nothing to do with solving the problem. >> the private sector ceo had on which is mexico over the last five, six, ten years has really
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transformed itself so the energy sector and you have seen at&t invest in the communication sector. you have seen there's going to be a large for the rigs that's coming in mexico. that's certainly american economies. part of the debate is also about should american companies be investing overseas s that good for us, this globalized world. i know this is really important to take this on head on. which is why is it good for america when at&t invests in mexico. >> because then at&t has access to the mexican market. hopefully means they make more. if they make more than their shareholders are making more money. they can hire more people in the
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u.s. there are certain circumstances where they would pay more taxes to the u.s. i have never seen or known of a country that has been successful economically and has self-sufficiency. they have sought to look internally and we're going to produce everything we consume and we don't want to have trade. that would take this economy into a serious dive. so i think that's where the rhetoric where the trump rhetoric is so alarming because if there are two things that have helped this economy for the last 200 years, it's immigration
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and trade. >> so trade. let's talk about tpp. >> sure. >> a lot of senior administration officials have warned of the importance of r radification of tpp. mexico is a tpp signatory. it's the exact opposite of what many trump recommendations are on trade. i have two questions. one is presuming that we don't rad if i, what's the effect going to be on mexico. and talk about the economic advantages for mexico if we do ratify. >> on the first one, which is one i generally prefer not to think about, but if e we don't ratify, i think there's a real
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risk to the u.s. in its relationship with mexico, but more broadly in its relationship as a global leader with a lot of countries. and trade is going to happen regardless of what we do with tpp. and as i was saying before, the big question is how do i want to shake these economic relati relationships. what do you want the rules of the road to be? and tpp sets up a certain set of rules of the road. i think getting into not ratify after having exhibited a lot of leadership, getting those to be put in place place in asia and across the pacific rim on this side of the pacific, would be seen as this massive failure of leadership. it would be very hard for us with any credibility to go to a lot of these countries and talk about any kind of global solution to anything. you look at the mexico/u.s. relationship now. on a number of issue, the u.s.
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and mexico stand together in important ways. whether it's things like global over capacity in steel and aluminum chrks is a real challenge we face where you have some economies that aren't operating in a manner and that distorts markets and that's hard and something that really takes some global cooperation and coming together and they have tried to work together on these issues. if other countries step up and we don't, i think you can just basically say we forfeited our ability to exhibit global leadership on economic issues. on the flip side of what does it do, i think one of the ironies to me of many of the complaints. tpp in it some ways is designed to take a lot of these things on. later in environmental standards are part of the core part of tpp. so some of the complaints people say about nafta wind up get iti,
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a lot of things that people said they would like to see in trade is what's in tpp. that's the first thing. the second thing is just, again, much like immigration reform. this is a button you can push to make the economy grow faster. this is a way you could let high performing and growth to improve supply chains. it's not easy to get whatever productivity number you need. if you have an opportunity to lift it in a way that's consistent with your values and just walk away from it. >> tpp point you made is excelle excellent, we are very underdeveloped in asia. when you think asia specific we
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have agreements with australia the idea they may be splitting apart some people call it plus three, so it's the ten countries plus if it's three, japan, korea and china. in one trade block without the u.s. and some people think that perhaps without the u.s. dollar. so unless we're in there, ten years from now we run the risk of getting shut out. our companies run the risk of
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getting shut out. and right now as we speak, china is building roads coming down vietnam. they are getting ready. >> i want to open it up to questions from the audience. i'd like to end my questions with a question that's a little uncomfortable. which is as a leader, as a foreign policy leader, as an economic leader, as a his tpani and republican, why have the accusations against mexico been so successful with a portion of the u.s. population in the last couple months? why has that seemed to have hit the mark? >> well, i would say they have been successful with a certain portion of the population, 12 million voters. you're talking about a lot more
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if you want to get elected nationally. i'm not sure this is an argument that it plays nationally. the way it was communicated was false. because it implied that the mexican government is sending us their worst people. wasn't that it the accusation? when actually we are getting mexico's hardest working, most adventurous, most ambitious because they are willing to risk their lives to come over. so it was that concept that somehow the mexican government is send iing us their worst peoe that it's false advertising. and he sparked a lot of people because of something that's absolutely untrue. but again, you cannot get elected in this country -- i don't see the shape of the electric to get elected without
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35% of the hispanic vote. romney had 27%. mccain had 33%. george w. bush had 34%. i doubt it. even though trump says he's going to win the hispanics, i doubt it. so i'm not sure it's been that successful. >> let me open it up to questions. start with the gentleman there. >> thank you. i wonder if you could talk about the role of education in the economic relationship between u.s. and mexico and economic coordination collaboration between the two countries. >> i think there are a lot of programs that go back and forth in terms of whether it's teachers or students where
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there's attempts at coordination and cooperation. i think it's a place where having nafta or a free trade agreement that makes these flows a little easier in terms of education is important. i think the other thing is honestly i think improving education on both sides of the border is a crucial piece because i think often people look at globalization when really it's changes in the global economy. one of the things we know is upgrading the skills, upgrading the ability to work with technology, improving the education standards on both sides of the border is a crucial part to make sure both countries are successful and i think that's one of the. >> there are a lot of u.s. students in mexico.
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it's surprising how many mexican students are in mba programs here in the u.s. words are used on both sides of the border. mexico city is like a big billboard for american brands. there's such intimacy between the two countries that it's on one hand ridiculous but also painful we'd be talking about it the way we are. you build a wall to lock out your neighbor, that's the kind of stuff that 10, 20 years from now creates revolutionary movements. but we just forget about it. and we're not thinking about what are e we really doing and how is this going to be perceived 30 years from now. it just feels good because it
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gets an applause line and someone may get the nomination because of it. >> other questions? >> i'm a student intern here. i'm just wondering as the u.s. signs trade deals with our atlantic and pacific partners, do you think our trade relationship with mexico will in the future decrease as well as our exposures to the mexican economy, especially as gravity theory falls by the wayside. >> the short sans i would not expect tpp in particular say to decrease our trading relationship with mexico. frankly, we already have a trade agreement with mexico, but tpp
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goes further on in a number of dimensions than previous agreements with the number of the signatories of tpp already. i don't see it. than they are already but i don't think that would mean they would be less integrated with one another. the common supply chains across the borders would be even more important as you're then trying to say export to the asian market. so i think in that sense, it's not something i would expect to decrease the ties at all. >> i agree with that. mexico is a border with the u.s. and that will never go away. that's an amazing asset. the other thing, too, since the 1980s there's been this manufacturing culture developed in mexico going all the way back to the process control and all those things. and it was taken seriously
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throughout the country. mexican manufacturers are very, very good and very competitive. you can companies with plants in mexico will tell you that's probably one of the most productive plants. so it is a very good hub for manufacturing with a border with the u.s., i would bet on that long-term. >> why is it so hard to explain to people why trade is good? all over the world. why has it been so difficult for politicians to explain to people that trade is a good thing that benefits the general population or maybe there are negative
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things that had to be taken into account too. >> i'll take a quick shot at that and turn it over. there are 3 million jobs in the u.s. some people say 3 million. the chamber has a higher number. jobs associated with exports to mexico. and with those 3 million jobs be in existence or would they be more or less if we didn't have nafta. the problem with trade is if you look at the three countries, look at 25 years before nafta, 25 years after nafta, the three numbers are better, the three countries. it's remarkable. anybody who has followed mexico and before nafta, you had inflation rates. you don't see that anymore. it's been remarkable ever since
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nafta came in. the problem is it's anecdotal. so i know a neighbor, who knows a cousin who just lost his job because the plant went to hex. it's true. it's real. but the national numbers are better. so how do you reconcile that the national numbers are better but some communities have been impacted. we have a program for trade adjustment assistance to help communities that have been impacted by trade. but the numbers are there and the numbers show that trade has been good and nafta has been a tremendous success. not for everyone, but for the country as a whole. >> i think the question is to
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why trade doesn't resinate as a positive force is it's a complicated one in a few ways. there's the story about a person who moves to a town and builds a building and is able to sell cheaper. this person must have this incredible thing going on in that factory. until someone opens the door and realizes it's just a rail line going to a port and bringing in goods from out of town and people suddenly hate the person who they loved before. why is it we respond more positively to a technological shift that changes the cost of goods than a trade shift? i think it's not necessarily a question economists answer as sociologists. other than to say i think one of the things is people do get to vote on trade. they don't get to vote on technology. they don't always recognize the extent to which many of the shifts they are responding to are technological shifts. manufacturing output has not gone down. it goes up every year.
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manufacturing employment does go down. in large part that's because we get much better and much more efficient at making the stuff we make here. i think we also import things. we export things too. when plants shut down because a plant is moved overseas, you see far less attention on the plants that are built here often that are we export bmws from the united states. people have jobs in that factory building german cars for export. things do get lost. we don't do enough for the impacted workers and there are a lot of thing this is administration has proposed over time whether it's increasing the minimum wage to make sure people who are dislocated and wind up in a new job are still getting a reasonable wage. there's a wage insurance proposal in the 2017 budget that was a really important proposal that made it easier for people to find a new job and it was a
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lower wage to get some sort of wage insurance for a few years as they build up their skills in a different industry. there are a lot of things you can do to try to cushion the dislocations that do happen, whether it's due to trade or technology. in some sense, it doesn't matter. trade adjustment assistance is an important idea, but because it's hard to say did you lose your job to trade or technology, it winds up being hard for some people to get it. often broad based supports for people who lose jobs wind up being more effective to make people have a more positive view. >> i think another way of doing it or one way to approach it is company by company. to have the plant manager or ceo go into the factories, offices and say thanks to trade, this is what it means for our company and our jobs. i really think it has to be
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company by company because it's hard to make a national argum t argument. >> we have time for one more question. i saw somebody with their hand raised here. i conduct every search and one particular state from which i am from in mexico because they are one of the top producers of the product and i know with the immigration they have a great impact because currently they have about 40% of the population in agricultural workers are here in the united states. that's what the learned recently. having that immigration program in place or cultural worker increased, that is really going to take away some of the force
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labor and thinker not particularly interested in that. so my question is does it really benefit the states to have such program? and then the impact that it has in the free trade agreement. >> you mean does immigration to the u.s. hurt? >> yes. >> it's an interesting question. in 1970 the average mexican woman had seven children. today it's about 2.2. the u.s. is about 2.1. and 2.1 tends to be holding steady. so there's going to come a day
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not far into the future where there are no mexican immigrants. or there aren't enough as we need because they also need the workforce because the population isn't growing as fast. there's a big number of small young people still so mexico is a lot of runway. but there's going to come a day where we're going to wish we had more mexican immigration. >> let me end by reminding everybody that on our website we have a series of social media tools that you can use. they are educational tools. they are tools for all audiences. as i learn from my colleagues i urge you to spread some of the
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tiles on twitter. use this as a launch we'll try to have for the next few months. i want to thank both of you for joining and the previous panel as well. i want to thank my two colleagues for having worked so hard on this. it's been great. i think it's a really, really important cause. thank you all very much for coming. [ applause ]
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two live events to tangherlini you about. eric fanning gives an update on the readiness and current state of the army. we had remarks live tomorrow morning at the association of the u.s. army at 7:20 a.m. eastern on c-span 2. in the afternoon donald trump gives a speech on the u.s. economy. mr. trump is in pennsylvania at 2:30 eastern. watch live road to the white
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house coverage on c-span. on july 1st, 1976 they opened the doors to the public. "american history tv" live coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. eastern. we'll tour the museum and see aviation and space atr facts including the spirit of st. louis. plus live events at the front of the building. learn about the museum the curator share the museum's space history department. join the conversation as we'll be taking your phone calls, e-mails and tweets. the 40th an verse roift smithsonian air and space museum, live friday evening at 6:00 eastern on c-span 3's "american history tv." now a conversation on the
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impact that immigration has on employment and wages. the event hosted by the bipartisan policy center's immigration policy project. >> how is everybody doing. thank you for coming out on a monday. i am the director of the policy project here at the bipartisan policy center. i want to welcome you to our event today discussing the release of our report culprit or scapegoat immigration's effect on wages. for those new, our mission is to actively seek to combine the best ideas from both parties to promote health, security, opportunity and really tackle some of the biggest and thorniest issues that america is facing. our process is to bring together very strongly interested parties on the issue, to hash out the
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ideas, the constructive clash, if you will. and bring policy solutions to the table through analysis, negotiation and advocacy. some of the analysis is some of the stuff you're going to hear about today. the immigration project here was started in 2013. our immigration task force is currently co-chaired by former governor ed rendell. our task force is issued a series of statements and reports on immigration over the last several years and actively working on policy recommendations that we believe can take the debate to the next level post election with a a new president and congress. audience members on the live stream can hear you. state where you're from and ask a question. we prefer you to have questions rather than statements so keep
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them short and sweet. you can also tweet us on twitter. everyone knows by now immigration has been a key issue in this election cycle. one of the ongoing debate issues is the role of immigrants in our labor force. are immigrants taking jobs from americans? are immigrants low eriering the wages or helping us fill labor shortages and expanding our workforce at a time it would be shrinking? our report issued today, the author will be presenting a summary, addresses those issues. somewhat maybe document a report.
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we will be taking questions later in the program and again if you are watching on the live stream and you want to ask a question, use #bpclive and we'll get the questions to the moderator. i will introduce our senior policy analyst to talk about our report. this trend has been particularly pronounced among native-born americans. since 2000 employment declined d by 6% among native born americans. foreign born just 2%. opponents of immigration are quick to look at this trend and
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use this data as evidence that immigrants are displacing native foreign workers. that restricting immigration will boost native born employment. now will this argument make superficial sense, it's misguided as it fails to consider several other factors that influence employment trends. this evidenced by the fact that despite diverging employment rates, unemployment has remained roughly on par between native and foreign born individuals over the past 15 years. why can employment have such a strong divergence but unemployment remain on par? this is due to the fact whereas employment measures the percentage of the population having a job, unemployment looks at those who are both out of work and actively seeking
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employment. so what this tells us is that native born americans have left the labor force for other reasons. namely to retire, enter disability or go back to school. as you can see, this is the percentage point change in these three activities over the past 15 years and among native born americans it's increased by close to 2%. whereas for foreign born individuals these activities have increased between 0 and 1%. so as you can see, native born individuals are increasingly leaving the labor force for these reasons. why has the trend been more enforced? our research points to the fact that native born have far more flexibility and options to pursue these other activities.
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they like to qualify for social security benefits upon retirement. so the median native born married couple age 65 to 74 has about ten times more in financial assets than the median immigrant couple. and then native born workers tend to have spent longer in the labor force than foreign born, which generally allows them to qualify for a higher monthly social security benefit. with regard to school enrollment, foreign born individuals face more barriers. language barriers and legal status that can prevent them from enrolling in higher education. with regard to disability, native born individuals are far more like think to qualify for federal disability benefits. namely the native born
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individuals. we found that if native-born individuals over the past 15 years exhibited the same rate of change in retirement disability and school enrollment as foreign-born this employment gap narrows. so basically these three factors explain the vast majority of the employment difference between native and foreign-born workers over the past 15 years. another common refrain among opponents is that immigration suppresses the wages of native-born americans. while it's true that foreign-born workers tend to have a lower wage than native-born workers, the research is ultimately mixed on the impact immigration has on wages. so our research shows that wages
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have less to do women grags and more to do with skills, education and the industries that tend to employee foreign and native born workers. so native and foreign born individuals tend to be employed in different industries and we identified seven industries that collectively employee around 50% workers and an additional seven industries that employ around 50% of the foreign born workforce. we found broad differences between these industries. for example, the construction industry employs the workforce but 4.5% of the foreign-born. on the flip side, management occupations around 12% of native-born workforce but just 8 8% of the foreign-born workforce. this is a trend that's persisted for the last 15 years. in general these native-born industries pay a lot better than the foreign-born industries on average at around $50,000 per
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year to $36,000 per year. and again, immigration opponents might say if we restrict immigration, wages in these foreign born industries will increase and we'll be able to narrow the employment gap. we don't know if this is necessarily the case because it has to do with skills. so on average, 50% of the occupations of the native born industries require at least a bachelors degree compared to 6% in the foreign born industries. so this basically tells us that the wage differential there is more a product of skills and education educational attainment as opposed to the presence of immigrants. . so ultimately our analysis showed in the absence of immigration, it's unclear that nati native-born americans would flock to jobs in industry employ foreign-born workers. since nat i--born stend to have higher levels of education and
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can exit the labor force as we saw earlier, there might be less of an incentive to accept a lower wage occupation when you can retire or go back to school. this is actually shown with several foreign-born are reporting severe labor shortages. even as native-born employment has decreased in recent years. so the big examples are construction and agriculture, the construction industry reported a shortage over 675,000 workers in 2015. the agriculture industry saw a 20% decrease in field workers over the past decade chrks has led to around a $3 billion per year in lost revenue. so in the absence of immigration, this problem would likely be exaggerated which would do little to improve the outcomes for native-born
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americans. at the end of the day, um grags is needed to plug these labor shortages. immigration can benefit workers by increasing demand for goods and services, which leads to economic growth and can lead to additional employment opportunities. ultimately our findings indicate it's a dynamic ingredient. immigrants do not harm the native born workforce. they compliment and enhance it. this about sums up mu research. thank you for joining us this morning and enjoy the rest of our program. [ applause ] >> so you have heard our take on this, but for some alternative takes, we'll ask our panel to come up and i will introduce our moderator for today. moderator is a reporter with quartz, a global business news online site. he writes about politics, economic policy and space. he's the host of the actuality
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podcast. and he was a political reporter here in d.c. so he knows the area pretty well before he moved to los angeles as a business editor at good magazine. i will let tim introduce the panelists for today and thank you very much. >> can everyone hear me okay? seems like they are. thank you for joining us today. thung for organizing this panel. i u am here from a global news site where i cover politics and past couple years that's been a lot of immigration-related issues or at least a lot of rhetoric about immigration. the question really is whether that rhetoric matches up with what is actually happening in the economy and to people. that's what we're going to talk about here today. we have a good panel. immediately to my left is the director of the immigration program at the economic policy institute chrks is four floors
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below us. and finally, we have the professor o at the university of southern california. welcome, guys. to start off understanding the question of whether immigration has a negative or positive impact on u.s. workers and the u.s. economy, there's actually despite a lot of heated arguments about this between politicians a pretty good consensus in the economic policy world. i wonder if you could lay out some of the points of agreement and get into disagreements. >> so that was a nice report. reenforces a a lot of things we understand about what's going on as well. i would say if you read the newspapers, you might have a different sense of how much disagreement there is among
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economists. you have i would say a very broad consensus among people pitted against each other with real differences. but there's overall growth in the economy as a result of immigration, but there's an overall benefit to u.s. born workers that there's a particular benefit to women workers and some negative impacts on men with less than a high school education. although at the same time, i would say the obvious questions to me would be how do we benefit from those overall good things about immigration and try to figure out how to address the questions rather than acting there's a a big disagreement about whether or not there's a a negative impact. and so one way to do that and to start talking about kenny's paper. daniel, you were interested in the comparison between the different labor force participation rates, but i think
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you want to complicate that discussion. >> you want to commend for doing a great report on very valuable. it was showing the reason for the divergence in labor force participation rates between native born workers and foreign born workers. he proves his points really well with good data, but there was one part he didn't prove enough. this assertion there are labor shortages in the e lower skilled occupations. what he cites in the paper as evidence for this is two things. one, a survey of construction employers and an article which talks about it. even in consider the source ploy irs saying they can't find workers. what wages are they offering.
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and the report said itself that construction employers weren't offering enough wages to entice workers at or above their industries. the other report was a report done by a lobbying group that lob pis for higher number of guest workers. so how do you really assess labor shortages is with metrics. that's our wages rising, unemployment rates going down. and wages in all of the low skill occupations he shows over the past decade wages have gone down in every one of those occupations. and some of my own research has looked at the same occupations and found very high occupational unemployment rate ace cross the board over the last decade. unemployment rates at or around double digits. and then there's other evidence there aren't these labor
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shortages. more broadly the council of economic adviser z put out a report this month about the long-term decline in prime age labor force participation and say the demand for e lower skilled labor is falling. they say they are not actually sure why it's falling. economists don't really know for sure. but part of the decline was tloat least driven by weaker employer demand by people from low skills. then a few years ago the mckinz si institute predicted there's going to be large surpluses with a high school education or less. e we should take this point about labor shortages with a grain of salt and look more at the data and evidence. when we get comprehensive immigration reform, we can take this information into account. >> your research has been on this topic in context of h1 been
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and other worker programs. would there be more jobs? >> what you need to do to make that program fair to both the mie grant workers who come in and u.s. workers here is major sure that you heavily recruit and give u.s. workers a fair opportunity to apply for the jobs. the way the rules work in the program, some of them pay lip service. some of them don't at all. some don't require that at all. then you require that you pay the workers you bring in at least no less than the average going rate for the job. and there's plenty of immediame reports and evidence that has not been happening. so if the system was more fair,
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you wouldn't have to worry about it so much because you're proving there's a labor shortage. that would be complimenting the workforce by definition. e we should shift to a system where we have an independent agency where the labor shortages are and give employers more direct access to workers. but that's very different than the system we have now and the workers who come in shouldn't be indentured to their employers. there's tons of fraud. there's not much enforce m going on. the programs are a terrible way to manage migration. in general i agree with what david said about how it's good for the economy, but this is one place it's not working so well and we need major reforms. >> i think i would say i don't see a big reason for having temporary programs. i don't think what we're talking
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about is immigration for people to say you want people to come, learn english, get job skills and reap the benefit of that in our society and let them move to different jobs. i don't see real advantage except to some employer who is are taken advantage of it saying you can come but only come and be restricted to this job and have to go back again. it's like garn e teeing they are not going to do all those things we want them to do. >> the reasons we're going to need more immigrants in the next 50 years. can you talk about the long-term population challenge? >> i would love to, thank you. a new idea occurred to me. immigration reform is always about the next 10 or 20 years. and yet most research is about the last ten years. that's the essential problem we always face.
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how do you take old facts and apply to the future. one thing we know is the demographic changes. i got my colleagues here from economics. i have to rib them a little bit. the reason they are smarter than economists is that even though economists is the most important thing, i agree. economists cannot predict interest rates three months ahead of time. they don't know anything. they can look in ten year's time everybody in this room you all are going to be ten years older. apply that to the whole population and we're in the middle of a massive retirement of the baby boomers. there's 60 million baby boomers on deck to retire. not right now, but some of them already have gone. but over the next 10 and 20 years. we have to rebuild the the workforce online. not all at once. replacing workers as we go. the whole dimensions have shifted from the last ten years, which included the great recession and really high unemployment as kenny's report
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showed so well. those curves are wonderful showing the rising unemployment in decline in the boom period and now hopefully back to normal and we'll hold it now. kenny, hold it for the next ten years. no more retreats. but going forward in time, we have a shortage of workers. the native born actually don't generate enough new workers coming in. there's entrances to the workforce and there's exits. they have to balance. and if you're going to have any kind of growth, gdp, the calculations, i was just reviewing the economic reports of the president. i went back and looked at some old ones from bush. even the last clinton one, a couple bush ones, a couple of obama ones, and they all use the same formula basically. gdp growth is based on labor force growth plus productivity. and the productivity's where they sort of get wishful. it hasn't been panning out the way they hoped. but we know pretty well the labor force grows. and it's not good. it's way down. used to be 1.8% growth per year. it's going to be down to .6% per
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year. one third the growth we used to have. so the labor force is really slowing down and gdp growth is slowing down and that's what we're bucking against the headwinds of that. macroeconomics. i'm a demographer. what do i know? i just know there's not enough people. so how do you get more people? immigration is part of that solution. and we don't realize that enough. >> i wonder if maybe someone wants to take on this idea because a lot of the misconception about how immigration affects the economy comes from kind of an econ 101 idea that you know, there's a supply of jobs, if one person gets one job there's one fewer job for me. but that's not actually how things work in the real world and sort of can someone take on why that is? >> i'll do that. i think that is the way things work. right? that's just chart one of econ 101. you also need to do charts 2 and 3. right within -- econ joke.
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i think so if you're talking about just the labor market, right? more workers. more supply of workers is going to mean lower wages. but then more people also means more customers. more consumers. so you're also expanding the amount that people are spending, which means there's more demand for workers. and then the third piece of that i think is if you look at investment in business owners that immigrants are in fact disproportionately likely to be business owners. i think it's sometimes exaggerated. i don't think they're super entrepreneurs. but i think -- we know we've seen in our research about 16% of the labor force and about 18% of business owners are immigrants. disproportionately likely to be business owners. what you see is not the econ 101 idea is a little bit of a misconception because people are thinking just if there are more workers there must be lower wages. if there were more workers and also the rest of the economy were static then that would be true. but what we see instead is the rest of the economy is growing in part as a result of immigrants. >> can i add a very quick point
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to that? i completely agree with that. but in terms of the immigration debate some of the giovanni perry's research has found that when you bring immigration into the united states during slow gross or a recession period, it takes longer for the economy to actually adjust. for the most part it doesn't impact too many people except the lowest wage, least educated workers. but the sort of policy solution is to tie immigration levels to the health of the economy. so you'd want -- when the economy's growing and unemployment rates are low you'd want to have more immigration. during slow growth recessionary periods you'd want to have less so the economy can adjust so there are the least negative impacts on the smallest number of people. >> can we talk about where the negative impacts sort of wind up and why they exist there? it's an issue of i guess the kind of labor that people are doing or the kind of skills they have.
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>> i think the -- i guess it sort of leads to the discussion about the lower wages in these -- the foreign-born lower-wage jobs. the fact -- kenny i think mentioned in the report, he sort of ties it to the fact that they are lesser educated and these are low-wage jobs. that makes sense. it also says there's probably some globalization pressures and there's mechanization which can happen as well. and that sort of makes sense but i think that you know, in some of these jobs there aren't globalization pressures on landscaping jobs, which is one of the big occupations, right? i think what's really happened is that wages being low in this occupation it's not because of immigration and immigrants, it's because employers and the public policies that they've managed to get governments to implement and that includes probably number one is deunionization. number two is a failure of the minimum wage to keep up.
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there's a lack of labor enforcement. wage theft misclassification. then you do have 5% of the labor force which is mostly in low-wage jobs which are unauthorized which can't assert their rights. they're deportable. they feel deportation. so they don't complain to the labor department. then you have indentures guest workers who were exploited, can't switch jobs, can't complain, fear deportation as well. but these are all policy solutions which you can do to sort of raise the bar. any negative impacts that might happen from immigration during high -- high immigration during a recessionary period you can probably take care of that with a $15 wage. that would more than take care of the gap. these are policy levers in terms of the undocumented as well, legalization, easy solution right there. guest worker programs, reform those. you can -- it's not immigration that's keeping wages low. it's employers and policies.
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>> there's almost an inexhaustible supply of these by want to talk about one more immigration talking point. dowell, you can kind of explain. the claim that all new net gains in job growth has v. gone to immigrants in the united states since 2000, that is something that you will hear politicians say. is that true? if it is true, why is that? >> depends on the data that people are using. oftentimes it's based on short-term data, the calculations, which there's lots of noise in the data. but over the longer term it does -- the data smooth out better. you know, basically, you have a lot of baby boomer retirees. did i say that already? i did, i know. a lot of older workers are retiring, and then there's new workers coming online. of the workers who are retiring, most of them are native born. like 90 personative born. there's a lot of native-born losses.
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native-born the majority of the new workers too. but there are not as many native-born new workers as there are retired workers. it's a net loss for the native-born. then the growth that occurs in net growth is among the foreign-born. you look at the double nets, you can say that then the immigrants are getting majority of all the net increase in workers, but really over half the new workers are native-born. so figure that one out. one technical question here, or problem that everybody has to resolve this, what do you do about the children of immigrants in do you call them immigrants or do you call them native-born? what do you call them? it's not exactly clear how to do that. for some purposes people want to lump them in with their parents because they grew up in immigrants families. other times you want to lump them in with native-born because they're native-born citizens. so you can get some messed-up accounting if you count the children of immigrants as a cost because immigrants produce them
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and don't count the children of immigrants as a benefit when they become workers and taxpayers. that's a real problem in our accounting system. so politically some people play an arbitrage game with that and try to make it look back for the immigrants. other people try to make it look good for the immigrants. i just say you really should look at it both ways and make decisions on that. the national academy of science report that's due out within a month does it both ways i think to try to figure out howing to account for the costs and benefits of immigrants. you have to figure out how to treat the children. children are expensive. native-born and foreign-born are expensive kids to produce through the education system. but then the major beneficiaries are providers when they become workers and earners and consumers and taxpayers. it's a dilemma how to do that. when people look at the net change and they say immigrants are taking the majority of the net jobs, that's only because they're not really taking
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account of all the native-born retirees who just went out the door. that's what's driving that. >> we've been talking so much about retirees we should ask this. how are immigrants contributing or drawing from u.s. social service programs whether it's medicare, medicaid, social security, all these sort of things we have set up. are they net contributors or are they net receivers? do we have good research on that? >> certainly if you want to talk about social security, i think immigrants are contributing more than they're getting. a lot of that has to do with what they're all saying, their age structure. they're more likely to be in prime working age because people come here as young adults to work for the most part. some of it is because they don't qualify as often for benefits. undocumented immigrants about half are paying into social security and almost none of them are getting anything out of it. so social security is certainly benefiting. in that way -- although i would say the biggest piece of that is about the age structure. that social security say pay as
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go system for the most part. you want to have younger workers paying for the older workers. >> to speak to this succinctly, there's a ratio i call senior ratio, the number of elderly divided by working age. it's a traditional demographic measure. and it's been constant in the u.s. at about 24 seniors per 100 working age. i call working age 25 to 64. and it's constant. until now. and now it's skyrocketing, going up to about 42. so from 24 up to 42 or even higher. that's with immigration included in the population. hypothetically, if you take the immigrants out of the calculation, this ratio that is going to increase by 3/4 over the next 20 years would then increase by 100%. so it's an extra quarter increase that we would suffer without any immigrant addition. the immigrants tend to come in to the working age population. they get older too. immigrants get older too but not all at once. we had this big problem here
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that we had this -- literally a cliff we're going up in the data because of so many retirees so quickly. and we need to soften that cliff. one way to do it built into it is with immigrant arrivals. but even then it's still not enough. how do we manage this? no one wants to talk about it. because we don't have a solution for aging. any politician could stop aging, they would campaign on it. there's no solution. there's entitlement programs, and we have to pay for them but we don't want to raise taxes. we also don't want to run a deficit and we don't want any more immigration. well, you can't have your cake four different ways. something has to give here. and aging is not the one that's going to give. >> i don't have a solution to aging. i guess i'm also not a politician. but i think -- so i don't think -- i mean, i think it's not so hard to solve those problems. maybe we do need to raise taxes. that's an obvious possibility. productivity is -- so you're right, we can't predict that very well. but i think that we can make --
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this is a pretty productive economy. we can make it more so with smart investments. that will deal with a lot of the issues. i do think to loop back to the question about whether there are labor shortages and also what they were talking about, you can't argue with the changes in the demographic structure, you know, i think -- i don't think that we -- i don't think there are big labor shortages. and i don't think we need immigrants to fill population to substitute for declining population. it's not inevitably a bad thing for there to be a declining population but i think the fact we have this kind of age structure means we can absorb immigrants and we can do it very well. we've done it before in the past. it's part of the kind of picture we would see. i think the kind of levels we've seen have not really been a problem. the ways we've regulated it as daniel's pointing out i think have been a problem and getting a better fix on how do we have an overall immigration system
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that works better and is enforced better is a good idea. but i think it's not so much that we have shortages or we have needs that we can't otherwise deal with those problems. i think it's more that we can see that we know how to do this and it's gone pretty well for us and there's no real reason to think that's going to be a problem in the future. in fact, kind of to the contrary. >> one thing that people will point to as a symptom of how kind of broken our immigration system is is the large undocumented population. and obviously, we have the republican nominee out on the campaign trail saying we need to build a wall. what is the state of undocumented immigrants right now? are they still a big presence? how are they affecting the u.s. economy? >> they're 5% of the labor market and 2/3 of them have been here for over ten years. about a fifth have been here for 20 years. so it's a past tense effect. >> well, their status has remained unchanged unfortunately thanks to the supreme court. but they're going to continue working in the industries that they do, and we know they suffer
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wage violations and other labor and employment law violations at much higher rates than u.s. workers. so we obviously need some sort of policy solution. i don't know what it's going to be. maybe it's status-blind labor enforcement. maybe it's what california has done, which is to pass a couple of laws that ban employers from making it legal for employers to threaten workers based on their immigrant status. and you know, states are probably going to have to come up with solutions, pro-worker solutions. i don't know. but it's a big share of the labor market and we need to do something to protect them to -- because protecting them actually helps u.s. workers. that way they don't have to be undercut. >> daniel is exactly right that there's 11 million already here and have been here for a long time. they're not going to go somewhere else. that's an asset that's in place. it's their children again who are really in question.
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that's what the dakker program is aimed at these immigrant quloirds paid for for their schooling. we've already educated and are already ready to work, ready to produce taxes and do all kinds of good citizen type things. held back. they're in limbo. they don't even know the home country of the parents. they just didn't ever grow up there. am i right? is that the -- >> if you're an unauthorized immigrant who's been here for a while who doesn't have a criminal record the probability you're going to get deported is already low and hopefully the president will make that even lower now that dopa hasn't passed. >> can you tell us what the supreme court decision last week means for daca and things like that? >> the original daca in 2012 is unchanged but the new program which would have impacted around 4 million of the parents of u.s. citizen-born children and legal permanent resident children is
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essentially in limbo, which means that the status of unauthorized immigrants is the same. it's going to go back to the lower court to be heard on the merits. it was a preliminary injunction that was at issue. but the program can't go forward and it's not going to be implemented while president obama is in office. so it will either have to wait a few more years or until comprehensive immigration reform happens. >> you can say in terms of this discussion today you're talking about daca and do pachlt. this is people who are here already. the 11 million here already. for the most part these are already people in the labor force. it's a question of do you shift them from not having legal status to having some level of sort of bargaining power in the labor market so they can be more equal. and i think that's going to only be ab an improvement. you're not talking about new immigration. you're talking about shifting people from not having stat tuso having a provisional status. your first question, i would say
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11 million people is a large number of people. but it's not really growing very much. it's shrunk and leveled off and maybe it's going up in the last year or so but we don't see the same kind of trend -- people see there's a constant flow of new -- of increases in undocumented immigration, and in fact at this point it seems like it's more of an outflow than an inflow for the last few years, maybe now reversing a little bit. >> we'd be negligent to not point out the economic benefits that would have accrued if dapa would have passed. families with at least one dapa recipient, family income would have gone up by about 10% and poverty rates would have gone down by about 6%. and that's from the migrational policy and the urban institute estimates. >> it seems like we're leaving some low huanging fruit on the tree policywise. a lot of these ideas we're talking about. were they present in the 2013 comprehensive immigration bill
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that passed the senate and seems like the high point of recent immigration reform efforts? was that a good piece of legislation in all of your guys' view? or am i asking you to comment on things? >> i think -- i'm sure we could sit down and come up with something that we would like better. it dealt with the main issues. i would say there are three big issues that any kind of comprehensive reform deals with. how do you provide some kind of pathway to citizenship for them? you have to deal with how do you have an enforcement system that works. and i think you can't have an enforcement system that works in building a wall or any level of dealing with the borders is only one part of the issue and it's one that's already been -- there's been an enormous amount of money thrown at that already. i think you need to have some kind of workplace enforcement and how do you make a system that works for workplace enforcement. this can include some level of inspections and -- anyway.
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so there's enforcement. and then there needs to be some change in the future way that immigrants come. how do you make it possible for people to come legally? because right now what you have is almost no possibility for anybody who's coming as a lower skilled worker to come to the united states. and i think the kind of system that daniel's talking about where you have some level of responsiveness to some kind of a panel of economists and others, to think about how do you judge when it makes sense to have more people coming and when it makes sense to have fewer. so those are -- it has to be some kind of -- the 11 million who are here. dealing with enforcement in a better way. and future flows of immigrants. that's got to be part of it. there were compromises but that was a bipartisan deal in 2013. >> one small point to illustrate both what david and daniel said.
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daniel said i was critique whether there was construction work need because it came from construction firms and political lobbyists for construction -- >> it didn't include labor market data or metrics -- >> one of the elements, a minor element in the reform package, was a labor commission that would actually survey what are the labor force needs. i work in the housing area and there is a shortage of workers. ever since the great recession decimated the capacity of construction firms to build housing they haven't been able to rebuild their labor force. they've had a hard time. that's anecdotal with me. but within the industry i see that. i'm not an advocate of the industry. we don't have any authoritative labor commission that can tell us how many workers do we need. we don't know. >> what's another way to get there, which is raising wages. a lot of those workers during the recession left construction because there weren't jobs. they're probably in other
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lower-paying jobs and they would come back if the wages went back up. >> prices have gone sky high because the land has gone sky high. we're trying to keep housing prices down i hope and so if we raise wages we'll make prices even higher. there's a real squeeze between the consumer and the producer. >> construction company owners will take less of a cut and more will go to the workers. >> i think the land has absorbed -- >> revise what i've said before. i don't want to suggest there's a labor market shortage. but i think what you want is you don't want to solve every labor market shortage instantly by plugging that hole. i think you want to say -- that's the way a market economy is supposed to work, is when there's a shortage you want wages to go up. if there are not enough people being trained for nurses you want the industry to then be investing or the government maybe to be investing in how do we educate more people to be nurses. so i don't think you want to say, you know, every shortage should be filled by immigrants,
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and especially not by people coming temporarily and then going back home. i think you want to say how do you build a growing economy in which there's room for people to get those jobs but how do you -- just to make up a scenario, i mean, you want the labor demand in my opinion to be lagging a little behind -- i'm sorry, the labor supply to be lagging behind a little the demand at least in the economy today because you want wages especially in the bottom and middle to be going up. >> this question is really at the heart of all these reforms, which is what kind of immigration do we want. one thing that a lot of people said in 2013 was maybe the most consensus is around high-skilled immigrants. let's just fix that part and get a pipeline for more skilled immigrants to come into the u.s. a lot of people who are advocates for low-skilled immigrants said no, we need to link those two things. but would it make sense to say we know we need x, can we get, that does it make sense to divide immigrants by skill
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level, how do you sort of answer that question? >> i think you're mischaracterizing the consensus on the high skilled immigration piece. this is dick durbin, both in hearings and in the "washington post" said that he started calling sm-44 the reform bill the h 1 b bill. he said that was the most contentious, difficult part to do and he felt he was outnumbered by other people on the gang of eight because he wanted some basic froefrmz u.s. workers in high skilled immigration. the industry essentially got what they wanted, which was many more high skilled workers but with no real improvements on wages or having to recruit u.s. workers before you hire them. i think we have to make a decision on -- we're going to need -- i think everybody can agree we're going to need at some point immigration on the high and low skill side. we have to decide how that's going to be managed in a way that minimizes the cost and maximizes the benefits of how we
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do it. i don't know if you want my quick take on the immigration reform bill. it's a mixed bag. the legalization was the best part of it and that's probably why it was worth doing. but it had very huge increases in guest worker programs without -- in needed reforms. and there was really absolutely no money for increased labor law enforcement. and that which i think is too important to leave out. and there's no real biometric entry-exit tracking system for visa overstayers in the future. there's an expansion of e-verify without modifying the system in a way that employers can't use it to use it as a tool of exploitation against workers. and then finally there was a huge militarization of the border that would have occurred, which was really terrible. and i think progressive groups that wanted immigration reform started to split off as a result of that as well. if was really a mixed bag.
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>> yeah. seems like the employer labor regulations are going to be a key issue in whatever comes going forward. it seems like that is a major kind of pivot point for all these policies. step away from the economy for just one second but talk about another aspect of immigration. a big thing we are seeing, that the u.s. immigration reform are people coming from central ameri america. we had a big media moment on that last year. we're seeing refugees coming from syria and africa. obviously a big issue in europe. are refugees coming to the united states any different than the typical immigrant or migrant? do they have different economic benefits or costs? >> we actually just did a big report about refugees. i'm glad you raised it. happens to be top of my mind. i think the way people have absorbed what's going on is i think similar maybe to the way you described it. there is a big syrian refugee crisis and there is a big change in europe and turkey even more
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so and lebanon. the united states has taken 3,000 refugees from syria in the last, i don't know, five years. it's really not a significant number of people in terms of labor market impacts. 3,000 out of 300 million people in the country. and it hasn't changed very much over the last years. we take about 80,000 plus or minus 10,000 or so a year and we've been doing that the last number of years. we don't see in the united states the kind of increase in refugees the way they have in other parts of the world. that said, refugees seem like they have a little different profile than immigrants. each group comes from a different kind of place. i can tell you very quickly the ones -- we looked at somali, burmese, and bosnian refugees and saw what we were particularly interested in was how they do over the longer term they're here because there's been very little good data about
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that, and saw they in fact integrate quite well, do well over time. they need some help to get started but after they've been here for ten years they in fact are doing quite well. >> one sort of other related question because we sort of are talking about immigrants as sort of ingredients in the u.s. economy a little bit during this panel. sometimes there are refugees and there's a moral imperative involved. there are some people in washington like michael clemens at the center for global development who would argue that bringing migrants to the united states is a better form of foreign aid to help people in poor countries. do you guys think that's something policy makers should think about and do you think that's a good argument to make, it's a better form of foreign aid giving people wages they couldn't access in their home countries? >> it's clear that remittances that go back from the u.s. workers to their home countries is foreign aid. in that sense it is a literal substitute for foreign


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