Donald Trump
Donald Trump Wikipedia

Real estate tycoon Donald Trump has a stern warning for conservatives when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform: “You better be careful.”

Trump was not voicing the same type of caution given by some reform advocates and experts who have said that without meaningful action on the issue, the GOP runs the risk of alienating one of the fastest-growing voting blocs in the country. It’s the kind that can be seen as fear-mongering, and for reasons people on both sides of the debate have said are simply not true.

“With immigration you better be smart, you better be tough,” Trump said Thursday at the 2014 CPAC meeting in Washington. “They are taking your jobs, and you better be careful.”

This is what the political opposites on immigration reform have to say on the impact of immigration on America’s labor force and wages:

Liberal-leaning think tank Brookings Institution

“Although many are concerned that immigrants compete against Americans for jobs, the most recent economic evidence suggests that, on average, immigrant workers increase the opportunities and incomes of Americans. ... One reason for this effect is that immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs; instead, many immigrants complement the work of U.S. employees and increase their productivity.” [Read]

Right-leaning think tank American Enterprise Institute

“Overall, when you look at the effect of all immigrants on employment among U.S. natives, there is no evidence that immigrants take jobs from U.S.-born workers.”

And from the same source...

“Immigrants with advanced degrees boost employment for U.S. natives. This effect is most dramatic for immigrants with advanced degrees from U.S. universities working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.”

And the same source again...

“Highly educated immigrants pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits.” [Read]

And a libertarian perspective...

“[The idea that immigrants take U.S. citizens’ jobs is] something that virtually no learned person believes in. It’s sort of a silly thing,” Alex Nowrasteh, of the Cato Institute, has said, according to the National Journal.

But if the unfounded fear of immigrants taking American jobs isn’t enough, Trump reminded the gathering that conservatives wouldn’t get a single vote from the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. if they were legalized and eventually became citizens, “no matter what you do.”