In the News
Harvard Gazette: Sorting immigration facts, fiction
Gary Painter probes how press, academics can clarify contentious issues
October 05, 2011
Can emotional media narratives about undocumented workers be tempered with data about the true economic impact of global immigration? Could scholars help journalists dispassionately analyze a red-hot political topic?
These questions were discussed, sometimes soberly, sometimes passionately, during a conference on "The Futures of Immigration: Scholars and Journalists in Dialogue" held Friday at the Walter Lippmann House, home to the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. The afternoon conference brought together academics and working reporters to hash out immigration topics such as the law, economics, and the future impact of the new arrivals' children on U.S. labor markets and culture.
Undocumented workers do negatively affect the bottom 10 percent of the American labor pool, said Edward Schumacher-Matos, the ombudsman for National Public Radio and the former director of Migration and Integration Studies at Harvard School of Public Health. However, he noted, perhaps half of that 10 percent is made up of former immigrants. "So who's being hit the most by undocumented workers? Previously undocumented workers," he said.
The drastic decline of the housing market seems to have had a less dramatic impact on immigrant populations, said Gary Painter, the director of research at the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California. The gains in housing ownership made from 2006 to 2007 by the general population have been all but washed out, but ownership rates among Latino immigrants were not hit as hard, and this is particularly notable in smaller metro areas. Painter said this data should be viewed with caution, because it may reflect the increased economic status of immigrants the longer they are in this country.
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Link: Harvard Gazette