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Immigration Reform as Economic Stimulus

by Web Team on 09/02/2009 at 12:37pm

Immigration Policy Center just released a new report by Senior Researcher Walter Ewing this week, which injects “a healthy dose of economic realism” into the debate over how the government should handle the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

According to Ewing, our current economic situation needs immigration reform that helps, rather than hurts, the US economy.  He goes on to list three potential changes in immigration policy and compares their economic impact – leaving aside the moral and civil issues that surround the various options. He asks:

Even more to the point in the current economic climate, how can we best tap these millions of unauthorized workers, consumers, and–yes–taxpayers as a force for economic recovery?

Here is Ewing’s analysis, shortened and in layman’s terms:

One: Deport Them All

  • The deportation process alone would cost between $206-230 billion over 5 years.

  • With the loss of these workers, the amount of money generated by the US economy would decrease by $245 billion.
  • More than 2.8 million US jobs would be lost.

Two: Deportation through “Attrition through Enforcement.” specifically through use of “E-Verify:”

  • Implementation of mandatory E-Verify would cost 12 billion over ten years.

  • $17.3 billion less would be collected in federal taxes over 10 years.

Three: Improved Process of Legalization:

  • The 2006 immigration reform bill would have generated 66 billion in revenue over 10 years, mostly from income and payroll taxes from new and newly-legalized immigrants.

These findings come on the heels of another recent report, from a slightly different perspective, which highlights how immigration reform is a key to revitalizing the economy. The report, entitled, “Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform,” was issued by the CATO Institute late last month.

This latest economic report by Immigration Policy Center concludes:

Legalization also acknowledges the fact that, since the US economy is now in recession, incorporating currently unauthorized immigrants into our strategy for economic recovery makes far more fiscal sense than spending untold billions of dollars, the middle of multiple budget crises, in a quixotic quest to force them all out of the country.

We hope this dose of economic realism will encourage lawmakers to move on real reform that’s in our nation’s best interest.

By Guest Blogger Nora Feely.

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