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News from EPI EPI releases Value-Added Immigration, a new book about migration policy by former Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 31, 2011
Phoebe Silag or Karen Conner, news@epi.org202-775-8810 

EPI releases Value-Added Immigration, a new book about migration policy by former Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall


Today, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released Value-Added Immigration: Lessons for the United States from Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, a new book by Ray Marshall, Secretary of Labor under President Jimmy Carter and a founder of EPI.  The book examines the migration policies of Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, each of which is an “immigration nation” like the United States.  It details the lessons American policymakers can learn from the other countries about migration policy as they attempt to improve the dysfunctional immigration system in the U.S.


Marshall explains that American immigration policy is chaotic and unconnected to specific policy goals.  The American system emphasizes family-based immigration, while more effective immigration systems stress economic migration.  Marshall identifies seven key lessons that legislators and officials can learn from the immigration systems of Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom:


Lesson #1: Adopt a strategic vision for value-added immigration Policies to admit foreign workers to the U.S. should have the goal of improving productivity and innovation and overcoming labor shortages.  Currently, they depress wages and working conditions in the U.S. and displace American workers.


Lesson #2: Assign high-level federal responsibility for employment-based migration Responsibility for immigration policy should be centralized in the Department of Labor rather than given to a number of agencies, as it is now.


Lesson #3: Appoint a high-level ad hoc commission to recommend measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the employment-based migration system


Lesson #4: Create a permanent, independent Commission on Foreign Workers An independent body that can provide policymakers with objective and evidence-based advice on migration is critical.


Lesson #5: Enact comprehensive immigration reform Unauthorized migrants in the U.S. undermine legal immigration programs. 


Lesson #6: Reform and improve employment-based migration policies and programs Better employment-based migration programs would add to the nation’s skills and productivity and avoid displacing U.S. workers.


Lesson #7 Reform temporary foreign worker programs The existing programs lack sufficient oversight and provide little protection for domestic workers.


Secretary Marshall has a long history of administering and analyzing the nation’s immigration and guest worker programs.  As Secretary of Labor from 1977 to 1981, Marshall administered the department’s certification of worker shortages and enforced its labor protections.  He commissioned an early effort to develop statistical measures to identify shortage occupations.  In the 1980s and 1990s Marshall researched and authored essays on immigration policy, and in 2007 and 2009, EPI published Marshall’s groundbreaking essay, “Getting Immigration Reform Right,” and his book Immigration for Shared Prosperity, both of which are about immigration reform.



See related work on Immigration