Max and Ruth Freedom Lecture: Unraveling the Immigration Story

By Megha Srinivasan

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Lisa Saunders, Hendrik van den Berg and speaker Jennifer Hunt discuss the Unraveling the Immigration Narrative lecture Thursday evening in Goodell. Katherine Mayo.

Lisa Saunders, Hendrik van den Berg and speaker Jennifer Hunt discuss the Unraveling the Immigration Narrative lecture Thursday evening in Goodell. (Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

Harvard University professor and labor economist George Borjas and Rutgers University professor and economist Jennifer Hunt gave a lecture on immigration Saturday in the Bernie Dallas room in Goodell Hall.

After a brief introduction, Borjas and Hunt each presented their perspectives on immigration to an audience of students and community members.

In Borjas’s portion of the lecture, he argued that immigration is not necessarily good for the United States’ economy. Borjas explained that some believe “immigration is like trade,” and it “simply allows production to be done domestically.”

“Calculating the impact of immigration requires taking into account that immigrants act in particular ways, because some actions are more beneficial than others,” he said.

He added that some actions “have repercussions and unintended consequences that can magnify or shrink the beneficial impact of immigration that comes from their contribution to widget production.”

After Borjas’s lecture, Hunt presented and argued an alternative side. Hunt argued that the United States “should increase immigration if economics is [the] primary consideration.”

Hunt explained that immigrants raise patenting per capital at double the native rate. Hunt went on to say that, “low-skill immigration raises [the] native high school graduation rate.”

She also said that although immigrants are a greater drain on the budget and are more costly than natives, “their children go on to be high earners and contribute more than other natives.” Hunt concluded by reiterating her opinion that the Unites States should increase migration and open its’ borders.

After the lecture, the audience wrote questions on note cards anonymously and passed them up front. The questions were read by an announcer, and Borjas and Hunt answered.

After the anonymous questions were read, appetizers were offered outside of the Bernie Dallas room for the audience.

Megha Srinivasan can be reached at [email protected]