Americans remain conflicted about immigration. In a New York Times/ CBS News survey, 46 percent said “today’s immigrants work harder than people born here,” vs. 8 percent saying they don’t work as hard. So immigration is an economic plus, right? Not necessarily. When the poll asked whether illegal immigrants do more to strengthen or weaken the economy, “weaken” beat “strengthen” by 70 percent to 23 percent. When respondents were asked to cite the main benefit of immigrants, “cultural diversity” and “take jobs Americans don’t want” topped the list (each cited by 16 percent). The chief concern: “they use public services” (17 percent). So, what is the net effect—economic and otherwise—of the immigrant influx? The chart above reveals a hung jury.
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