Commentary: Two Studies on Immigration and Race, with Surprising Details

Group of people holding small American flags

Two mainstream think tanks have published new studies on immigration and race in America that come to the typical, safe conclusions. But a look at the data inside shows something more interesting.

A new Cato Institute report defending immigration begins by contending that immigrants are unlikely to negatively affect states’ fiscal health. But within the study’s findings, Cato may have inadvertently provided a new reason to oppose immigration.

Using state budgets as a proxy for the quality of economic institutions from 1970-2010, the authors of the Cato study assert that “a larger share of immigrants at the state level is correlated with slower state revenue and spending growth in the short-term, measured by total per capita government revenue and expenditure growth.” In other words, the more immigrants there are in a state, the less the state tends to take in in taxes and the less it spends on services. This is hardly groundbreaking; we have always known that immigration is linked to welfare chauvinism.

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