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Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Economist Available to Discuss New Immigration Order

22-Apr-2020 10:55 AM EDT, by Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Rutgers scholar and economist Jennifer Hunt is available to comment on the latest developments concerning President Trump’s forthcoming executive order barring new immigration. President Trump announced last night the order would include 60-day pause on the issuance of certain immigration green cards.

Hunt, the James Cullen Chair in Economics, and former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, said: “President Trump’s new policy to suspend the approval of new green cards will be largely irrelevant for the evolution of U.S. unemployment in the face of COVID-19 due to the huge deterrent to immigration already. Immigration would have fallen of its own accord, as it did in the Great Recession of 2009.  U.S. mismanagement of the public health aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to provide an additional deterrent for some time. Further, roughly half of all new green card recipients are already in the U.S., merely adjusting their status from a temporary visa, which will reduce any likely impact of the policy.

She also noted, “Conceivably, the Trump Administration could implement the policy in such a way that many who would have adjusted their status are forced to leave the U.S. when their visas expire.  Their departure would reinforce the decline in gross domestic product as they cease to buy goods and services, leaving the effect of their departure on the unemployment rate uncertain. A similar policy in Switzerland during the oil crisis period of 1973-1976 contributed to a population decline, a collapse of the construction sector and a 10% decline in GDP, but a lower increase in unemployment than in most European countries.”

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