Amid Rallies, Questions Over Immigrants' Impact

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Thousands of demonstrators walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Thousands of demonstrators walked across the Brooklyn Bridge as part of "The Great Walk In Solidarity With Immigrants" in New York Saturday. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters

Several rallies in support of immigrants' rights are held around the country, including in New York, where thousands marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. The issue of illegal immigration has come to the fore since the House of Representatives passed a law making it a felony to be in the United States without proper documentation.

Advocates for firmer action against illegal immigration argue that undocumented workers hurt the U.S. economy by taking jobs away from Americans. Immigrants' supporters say those workers take jobs no Americans want — and without them, the economy wouldn't function.

But many economists say the effect of an estimated 11 million undocumented workers is minimal. While illegal immigrants have a negative impact on unskilled workers — many of whom lack technical training or a high school diploma — economists believe that overall, the American economy benefits a small amount from illegal immigration — "a little bit less than 1 percent," according to NPR's Adam Davidson. That finding, he says, suggests that neither side of the immigration issue has a strong economic argument to make.



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