Economists have long known that immigration redistributes income in the receiving society. Although immigration makes
the aggregate economy larger, the actual net benefit accruing to natives is small, equal to an estimated two-tenths of 1 per
cent of GDP. There is little evidence indicating that immigration (legal and/or illegal) creates large net gains for native-born
Even though the overall net impact on natives is small, this does not mean that the wage losses suffered by some natives or
the income gains accruing to other natives are not substantial. Some groups of workers face a great deal of competition from
immigrants. These workers are primarily, but by no means exclusively, at the bottom end of the skill distribution, doing low-
wage jobs that require modest levels of education. Such workers make up a significant share of the nationís working poor.
The biggest winners from immigration are owners of businesses that employ a lot of immigrant labor and other users of
immigrant labor. The other big winners are the immigrants themselves.
Illegal immigration continues to vex the public and policymakers. Illegal immigrants have clearly benefited by living and
working in the United States. Many business owners and users of immigrant labor have also benefited by having access to
their labor. But some native-born Americans have also lost, and these losers likely include a disproportionate number of the