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Why More Immigration, Not Less, Is Key to U.S. Economic Growth

Mexican migrant workers show their worker IDs to a foreman after harvesting organic spinach at Grant Family Farms in Wellington, Colorado
Mexican migrant workers show their worker IDs to a foreman after harvesting organic spinach at Grant Family Farms in Wellington, ColoradoPhotograph by John Moore/Getty Images

For those in favor of immigration reform, it might have been a relief that the presidential candidates spent more time describing how workers overseas are stealing American jobs than they did accusing foreign workers of stealing jobs right here in the U.S.A. But the status quo on immigration apparently supported by the candidates isn’t nearly good enough.

Beyond the huge importance of immigrants to the U.S. economy today, three forces are making immigration reform more urgent: growing crackdowns on undocumented workers at the state level, which are already hurting farming and are likely to spread to other sectors, including construction; the aging of populations in the U.S. and Europe; and increasing opportunities in the developing world, which are luring home skilled immigrants the U.S. needs most.