The national immigration debate is going to reshape thanks a simple and solid report: skilled immigrants with college degree outnumber those workers who haven't finished high school.
A report published today in Houston Chronicle set up some data to rethink the traditional approach. "There's more high-skilled (immigrants) than people believe," said Audrey Singer, senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and co-author of the report, which contends that the economic contribution of immigrants has been overshadowed by the rancorous debate over illegal immigration.
Singer and Matthew Hall, a sociologist at the University of Illinois-Chicago, analyzed census data for the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas and found that 30 percent of working-age immigrants had at least a bachelor's degree, compared with 28 percent who lack a high school diploma.
Singer said the highest concentrations of well-educated immigrants live on the east and west coasts and in older industrial cities, including Buffalo, N.Y., and Pittsburgh.
Researchers determined that foreign-born workers at all educational levels earn less than native-born workers who are similarly educated.
Low-skilled immigrants, however, are more likely to be employed, and less likely to live in poverty, than low-skilled native-born workers, the study found. Most immigrants in this country are here to stay," Singer said.Singer said three factors have led to higher education levels among immigrants:
- An increase in international students.
- Growth in H-1B and other visas or permanent-residency programs for skilled workers.
- An economic shift to jobs requiring more education.