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Labor Pains

If immigration laws tighten, all entrepreneurs could feel the squeeze.

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This story appears in the May 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Just what will happen to the economy if tighter immigration policies reduce the flow of immigrants? That's a serious question many entrepreneurs are mulling over in the wake of newly formed attitudes toward immigrants, post 9/11.

The U.S. economic boom of the 1990s was fueled by labor arriving from other countries, according to an analysis of Census data done by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. Immigration hit record levels last decade, as more than 13 million new immigrants entered the country. Because those immigrants tended to be relatively young men who were hungry for work, they had an outsized impact on the U.S. supply of labor, making up nearly half of labor supply growth from 1990 to 2001.

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