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Latino Daily News

Thursday June 9, 2011

Highly Skilled Immigrant Workers Now Outnumber Lower Skilled Immigrants

Highly Skilled Immigrant Workers Now Outnumber Lower Skilled Immigrants

Photo: Highly skilled immigrant workers now outnumber lower skilled immigrants

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According to a new study, a change 30-years in the making has resulted in more highly skilled immigrants living in the U.S. than lower-skilled immigrants.

Using census data, the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization out of Washington, DC, found that as of 2007, 30 percent of working-age immigrants of all residency statuses in the U.S. have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 28 percent that are without high school diplomas.

The report points to a change in the U.S.’s economic demands as an indication that the economy is less driven by manufacturing and more driven by information and technology.

Executive director of the American Immigration Council, Benjamin Johnson, says the research also highlights that while the hot topic of immigration tends to focus on undocumented low-skilled workers, there are a great deal more highly skilled immigrants coming to the U.S. than perceived.

“Too often the immigration debate is driven by images on television of people jumping over fences,” said Johnson. “The debate has been stuck in the idea that it’s all about illegal and low-skilled workers.”

Director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, Steven Camarota, took a different look at the data in the report and said there are other issues to consider.

It seems, based on this and other studies, that we’ve got an oversupply of highly skilled workers coming into this country,” he said, adding that he did not find the report’s findings surprising. “New college graduates are faring very poorly on the labor market, and what the report is telling us is that we’re bringing in a high number of workers to compete with them.”

According to the report, the number of working-age immigrants in the U.S. has grown from 14.6 million in 1994, to 29.7 million as of 2010.