Georgia econ profs urge Trump to be careful on immigration

Credit: Emily Jenkins

Credit: Emily Jenkins

Thirty-nine economists from Georgia colleges and universities have signed a letter calling on President Trump and Congressional leaders to avoid changes that would undercut the economic value of immigration.

The economists joined 1,431 others from around the country in a petition organized by New American Economy, a bi-partisan group of mayors and business leaders who say they support immigration reform that will boost the U.S. economy and create jobs here.

“We urge Congress to modernize our immigration system in a way that maximizes the opportunity immigration can bring, and reaffirms continuing the rich history of welcoming immigrants to the United States,” the letter said.

The economists who signed the letter include Republicans and Democrats, some favoring free markets, others supporting a larger role for government in the economy, the letter says. “But on some issues there is near universal agreement. One such issue concerns the broad economic benefit that immigrants to this country bring.”

Among the advantages of immigration, the letter cited:

-- the tendency of immigrants to start new businesses, which then hire Americans.

-- a higher share of working age people among immigrants, off-setting the accelerating retirement of boomers.

-- a high share of immigrants who work in “innovative, job-creating fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math that create life-improving products.”

Atlanta stands to gain from any well-crafted reform of immigration, the group maintains.

Immigrants account for about 9.4 percent of metro Atlanta's 5.8 million person population, according to New American Economy. Those people pay about $426 million a year in taxes and spend about $1.3 billion a year, the group said.

The Georgia economists signing the letter to Trump and Congress:

  1. Madeline Zavodny, Agnes Scott College
  2. Richard McGrath, Armstrong State
  3. Frank Stephenson, Berry College
  4. Lauren Heller, Berry College
  5. Wilson Mixon, Berry College
  6. Suzanne Erickson, Brenau University
  7. Christopher Curran, Emory University
  8. Samiran Banerjee, Emory,
  9. Sue Mialon, Emory
  10. Tarun Chordia, Emory
  11. Richard F. Muth, Emory
  12. Jasminka Ninkovic, Emory, Oxford
  13. John R. Swinton, Georgia College
  14. Alex Hsu, Georgia Tech
  15. Erik Johnson, Georgia Tech
  16. Tibor Besedes, Georgia Tech
  17. Gregory Brock, Georgia Southern University
  18. John Howard Brown, Georgia Southern
  19. Barry Hirsch, Georgia State University
  20. Bruce A. Seaman, Georgia State
  21. David L. Sjoquist, Georgia State
  22. Garth Heutel, Georgia State
  23. George Zanjani, Georgia State
  24. Mark Flowers, Georgia State
  25. Paula Stephan, Georgia State
  26. Richard Phillips, Georgia State
  27. L. G. Thomas, III, Emory
  28. Gabriel Ramirez, Kennesaw State University
  29. Lucy Ackert, Kennesaw State
  30. Rongbing Huang, Kennesaw State
  31. Timothy Mathews, Kennesaw State
  32. Xuepeng Liu, Kennesaw State
  33. Vijaya Subrahmanyam, Mercer University
  34. Peter J. Kower, Oglethorpe University
  35. Esendugue Greg Fonsah, University of Georgia
  36. Santanu Chatterjee, University of Georgia
  37. William D. Lastrapes, University of Georgia
  38. Bill Beranek, University of Georgia
  39. Jack E. Houston Jr., University of Georgia