One of the many things missing from the right’s discussion of immigration is the tremendous, quiet presence of immigrants (legal and not) in the American economy. Particularly in the current housing downturn, it’s telling to see the impact that foreign-born Americans are having on the housing market:
With rising purchasing power, the nation’s growing number of foreign-born residents are keeping the bottom from falling out. And amid slow demand from an aging and slow-growing native population, immigrants are fueling predictions of a rebound.
Assuming Congress doesn’t impose further restrictions, immigrants — both legal and illegal — and their native-born children are forecast to provide the bulk of coming years’ growth in homebuying demand, nudging the market back up and aiding the broader economy.
U.S. household growth from 2005 through 2015 is projected to reach about 14.6 million — about 2 million greater than in 1995-2005 — primarily because of greater numbers of immigrants, according to a recent analysis by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Most native-born children of immigrants are classified as minorities, and minorities’ share of new U.S. households — a key driver of housing demand — is expected to rise from a little more than two-thirds now to more than three-quarters by 2020, according to an earlier Harvard study.
“As we come out of the this housing recession, immigrants will continue to have an ever-larger role,” said Dowell Myers, a University of Southern California professor who studies immigrants’ upward mobility. “If you were to stop immigration, it would be devastating, because it would eventually pull this huge chunk out of the housing market’s foundation.”
I happened to be in California during last year’s marches for immigration, and can only hope that the power and presence demonstrated then – across the country, but especially in states like CA with especially significant immigration populations – is carried through in Congress’s debates on immigration.
Full article on Channel 5.