Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy. By George J. Borjas

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Since the middle of the 1980s George Borjas has made significant contributions to our understanding of the economics of immigration to the United States. This book synthesizes those contributions, makes them accessible to an audience of nonspecialists, and is likely to shape the debate over the nation's future immigration policy. Borjas explicitly ties his previous work on the changing skill composition of immigrants, the costs and benefits of immigration, and the long-run patterns of immigration assimilation to specific recommendations for lawmakers. He finds that the changing mix of source countries since the 1960s has led to the arrival of less-skilled immigrants who have adversely impacted less-skilled native workers, that the net benefits of immigration are small, and that the disadvantages suffered by immigrants last through several generations of their offspring. He advocates a “point” system that would admit a larger fraction of more highly-skilled workers, and a reduction in the overall number of immigrants to 500,000 per year, 33 percent fewer than were admitted in the 1980s and 1990s.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-844
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001


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