Some inside-the-beltway pundits argue that comprehensive immigration reform legislation has little chance of being brought up this year because it makes no sense to legalize millions of undocumented immigrant workers during a down economy. A new report by the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Center proves both of these views wrong.
The report, Raising the Floor for American Workers, found that fixing the nation’s broken immigration system would have far-reaching economic benefits that would help American workers and promote economic growth. Most notably, it refutes the conventional wisdom that immigration reform is costly and unwise.
The report found that U.S. Gross Domestic Product would rise by $1.5 trillion over 10 years if Congress enacts comprehensive immigration reform. Granting legal status to undocumented immigrants and creating flexible legal limits on future immigration flows would also raise the “wage floor” for all workers and would generate enough consumer-spending to support 750,000-900,000 jobs. The report also finds that the option preferred by anti-immigrant groups and Congressional hardliners – forcing the 12 million immigrants in the United States illegally out of the country – would reduce GDP by 1.46 percent annually, amounting to a loss of $2.6 trillion over 10 years.
“Opponents of reform say we can’t afford to change the immigration system right now, but this report shows we can’t afford not to,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of Americas Voice. “Reforming the immigration system will lift wages, increase revenues, and help honest employers create jobs – at the same time that we are restoring the rule of law to our broken immigration system.”
“If lawmakers opposed to reform acknowledged the true costs of keeping the immigration system as is – reduced wages and tax collections, exploitable and expendable workers, expensive enforcement policies that neither control nor end illegal immigration – they would support reform because they would understand that the cost of doing nothing is much more expensive,” Sharry said.
America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.