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Amid Rallies, Questions Over Immigrants' Impact

Several rallies in support of immigrants' rights are held around the country, including in New York, where thousands marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. The issue of illegal immigration has come to the fore since the House of Representatives passed a law making it a felony to be in the United States without proper documentation.

Advocates for firmer action against illegal immigration argue that undocumented workers hurt the U.S. economy by taking jobs away from Americans. Immigrants' supporters say those workers take jobs no Americans want -- and without them, the economy wouldn't function.

But many economists say the effect of an estimated 11 million undocumented workers is minimal. While illegal immigrants have a negative impact on unskilled workers -- many of whom lack technical training or a high school diploma -- economists believe that overall, the American economy benefits a small amount from illegal immigration -- "a little bit less than 1 percent," according to NPR's Adam Davidson. That finding, he says, suggests that neither side of the immigration issue has a strong economic argument to make.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.
Adam Davidson is a contributor to Planet Money, a co-production of NPR and This American Life. He also writes the weekly "It's the Economy" column for the New York Times Magazine.