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Advocates of restrictive immigration policies often claim that immigrants impose a net burden on the public treasury. The most comprehensive and authoritative study of the fiscal effects of immigration in the U.S. finds, however, that there is a net positive effect. If policymakers are concerned that less skilled immigrants may pose some risk of a fiscal burden, then restricting immigrant access to means-tested public benefits would be a better response than denying them admission. A path to citizenship for these immigrants need not entail a fiscal burden as long as their access to these public benefits and citizenship is sufficiently delayed.
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immigration, public treasury, fiscal effects, citizenship, benefits
Chang, Howard F., "Walls or Welcome Mats? Immigration and the Public Treasury" (2016). Wharton Public Policy Initiative Issue Briefs. 4.