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A les portes del cel (Heaven’s Door)

Publicacions | 09/05/2008

Encouraging the debate on immigration

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Heaven’s Door, which activated a wide debate when it was published in the US, has now been released in its Catalan version. The book was considered politically incorrect, neocon or academically faultless, depending on the source. Author George J. Borjas, Professor of Economics and Social Policy in Harvard University, is one of the leading scholars in studying the economic impact of immigration.

According to Borjas, immigration is a vital component of demographic trends and material progress in the US. In his work, he provides the basic keys for understanding the role of migrations and offers his particular vision of those doors of heaven cherished by thousands of newcomers. Drawing from the fact that the US have accommodated, in the eighties and nineties, an average 730.000 legal and 200.000 illegal migrants yearly, Borjas calculates the benefits of immigration. He assumes that in actual circumstances, such influx harms productivity and less qualified wage-earners, although it tends to increase business earnings in less value-added sectors, yielding overall a slightly negative turnover. Cuban-born, Borjas does not challenge the virtues of migration, but rather its magnitude and pace. Acknowledging there is no universal migration right, he concludes that policies should be applied in order to determine the optimal level of incoming populations. The author insists that receptors should be able to decide what immigrants they welcome, how many and how.
Borjas’ book is a key contribution to the debate on immigration, a debate which according to the author revolves around three basic questions: first, do immigrants adapt well to the US? Second, what is their impact on the labour market? And third, which is the economically soundest migratory policy for the country?

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