No kidding: Jobs attract immigrants

Dan Grech Oct 18, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: Illegal immigration has been about the hottest topic on the country’s agenda this year. It’s getting a lot of attention again with the midterm elections coming up. Whether you favor more border security or a guest worker program, you can’t have a healthy debate without information. A study out today looks at the role these immigrants play in the economy. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Dan Grech has more.

DAN GRECH: The study finds demand for cheap labor in the U.S. is so high that half of all immigrants from Latin America land a job within a month.

Most of those immigrants were unemployed when they left their home countries.

Donald Terry is with the Inter American Development Bank, which commissioned the study. He says those findings point to a simple equation.

DONALD TERRY: “We need the workers, they need the jobs.”

The report finds that if immigrants had jobs in their home countries, they earned $150 a month on average. That jumped to $900 a month once they got here.

Study author Sergio Bendixen.

SERGIO BENDIXEN:“That’s going to make you go under the wall, over the wall, across the wall, because the magnet is just too strong. That’s six times as much, by just changing the place where you’re working.”

The study also shows that nearly 3 in 4 immigrants send money home, a significant increase from two years ago.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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