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Economic Reasoning & Immigration (March 2013)


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Immigration reform is front and center in the news and emotions are high.  There are so many issues connected to immigration – from national security:  walled borders and terrorists –  to economics:  unemployment, social welfare programs, and labor shortages – to social justice:  education, citizenship, and health care for children of undocumented immigrants; amnesty.  When all these issues are mixed together, it is virtually impossible to have a reasoned discussion or objective debate about the costs and benefits of various policy proposals.

While economic reasoning can’t give us a “right” answer to the question of the best immigration policy for our nation, it can help us conduct the debate in a more reasoned, objective manner.  And that would be an important step to forging a consensus that could be translated into a policy with broad support throughout the country.

Economic Reasoning Proposition #5 – that our opinions are only as good as the evidence that supports them – should be the basis for our thinking about immigration, just as it should be for any position we take on issues, regardless of how much or little they impact us, personally.  And that’s the purpose of this Hot Topic – to offer data and evidence so that we can identify what we know about immigration before we engage in debate over what policy is best.

As students read and view the resources in the collection, they’ll use Proposition #4 to look at how the “rules of the game” for immigration to the U.S. shape incentives and people’s choices (Economic Propositions #1 & 3), and they’ll get an overview of things we do know:   data on the size of the immigrant population and workforce, and contributions and costs of immigrants to the U.S. economy, for example.  They’ll also be exposed to theories about how immigration impacts labor markets, giving them a chance to review their understanding of complements and substitutes as determinants fo demand.

The accompanying teacher collection provides additional resources to use in the classroom, including provocative ideas for discussion, like Nobel Laureate Gary Becker’s proposal that the U.S. allow immigrants to purchase entry into the country!

Economic Reasoning & Immigration (Teachers):

  • http://bit.ly/I9Zb2Y
  • Segment 1 of this collection replicates the student collection (below) but with narration designed for teachers.
  • Segment 2 includes additional resources for preparatory and/or follow up classroom activities.
  • Segment 3 notes the content and common core knowledge standards addressed by the student collection.

Economic Reasoning & Immigration (Students):

  • http://bit.ly/1draeD4
  • This collection is comprised of 1 segment in which the relevant economic reasoning tools are paired with resources from the news and scholarly sources.  A student-centered (text) narration by Econ Eddie guides students through the analysis.  After students study the collection individually (receiving their direct instruction as homework), they are ready to engage in follow-up practice and activities in the classroom.

Gooru is a free website, which students and teachers can join at no cost.  However, it is not necessary to join in order to use the FTE Gooru Hot Topic collections.  Clicking the links above provides full access to the collections.  Gooru collections are user-friendly, and students usually figure out quickly how to navigate by using the arrows on the screen.  Below are links to an 8-slide powerpoint or 8 screenprint pdf highlighting the features and naviagtion of Gooru collections.

Download Powerpoint – How to View “Economic Reasoning & Immigration” on Gooru (8 slides)
View and download Pdf – How to View “Economic Reasoning & Immigration” on Gooru (8 annotated screen prints)

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