And as an economist, in fact a free-market economist, Mr. Brat surely knows that immigration reform will not lower wages and eliminate jobs for native Americans. Other immigration opponents routinely use this argument. But it is false. It is unproven.
A new study from the University of California-Davis and Colgate University strongly rebuts this position. The researchers write: "A lot of people have the idea there are a fixed number of jobs. But immigrants can boost productivity of the overall economy, because then the pie grows and there are more jobs for other people as well, and there is not a zero-sum tradeoff between natives and immigrants."
In fact, the study points out how there are rising wages for college- and non-college-educated native workers along with increased immigration. The study's authors argue that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — the so called STEM professions — raise wages for college-educated workers by 7 to 8 percentage points and non-college-educated laborers by 3 to 4 percentage points.
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Another study, from the Financial Services Forum and Standard & Poor's, shows that immigrants represent 13 percent of the U.S. population, but account for nearly 20 percent of small-business owners; immigrant-owned small businesses employed nearly 5 million Americans in 2010; more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants; and immigrants launched half of the nation's top start-ups, which account for virtually all net new-job creation, according to the Kauffman Foundation.
We live in an era of labor and capital globalization. That is why we need these immigrant entrepreneurs, both skilled and unskilled. Millions of immigrants came to America in the past and helped grow our economy at rapid rates. It is no different today.
And if the 11 million illegals who live here obey the law, pay taxes, learn English, and understand the Constitution, they deserve legal status. Citizenship is an issue way down the road. And yes, we must include border security, where unfortunately Obama's lax policies have contributed to the calamitous surge in illegal-immigrant children. But temporary visas or work permits should be part of a sensible reform package. The E-Verify system can work.
So, Mr. Brat, as a free-market economist, surely you know there's no reason why all this cannot be done. Hopefully you will come to believe that sensible immigration reform is pro-growth and pro-GOP.
Commentary by CNBC's Larry Kudlow. Follow him on Twitter @larry_kudlow