Immigrants could fill voids

Kearney (Neb.) Hub: We know that immigrants are filling many of the manual labor jobs that Americans don’t want to fill. We also know that some highly skilled immigrants are filling positions that require advanced knowledge of math, science and engineering.

Those are two good economic reasons for U.S. lawmakers to proceed with immigration reform. Here is another.

New research by a Duke University professor shows that immigrants are raising the value of housing stocks in some U.S. communities. The findings by Professor Jacob Vigdor, based on extensive study of census data, certainly are of interest to urban Americans, where the Great Recession left scores of vacant homes as owners walked away from upside down mortgages. The vacancies eroded the value of whole neighborhoods, invited crime and caused urban decay.

Vigdor’s study concludes that an influx of immigrants can resurrect such urban neighborhoods, but could the same effect not be expected in Nebraska, where rural population decline has become a serious concern?

If we believe that immigrants could help reinvigorate rural Nebraska, the key is allowing them a path to citizenship so they can settle down.

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