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If You’re Glad that Inflation and Deficits are Going Down, Thank Immigrants, Say the Experts

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Immigrants commonly come to the U.S. to seek hope and new lives for themselves and their families. Their hard work, skills, and resilience also make our nation stronger and more prosperous, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. 

Findings from the CBO state that a growth in immigration will help our economy grow by a massive $7 trillion over the next ten years. Researchers also said that a higher population growth, “mainly from increased immigration, more than offsets a projected decline in the labor force participation rate” due in part to an aging workforce. “In our projections, the deficit is also smaller than it was last year because economic output is greater, partly as a result of more people working,” CBO Director Phillip L. Swagel added.

“The findings from the CBO reinforce commentary from economists that suggests immigration trends in the US have aided the economy in avoiding a recession, as more workers help boost productivity without causing a spike in wage inflation,” Business Insider reported.

Yes, despite the right wing’s xenophobia, immigrants make the country stronger – for all of us. “Turns out immigrants aren’t ‘takers’ after all – they’re givers to the US economy and essential to a sustainable future, especially if we want elder generations to age with dignity,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to the CBO report.

The CBO’s findings follow recent data from the Immigration Research Initiative (IRI) projecting millions of dollars in additional local and state tax contributions from asylum seekers and newly arriving immigrants. According to the report, each 1,000 new immigrant workers stand to earn $22 million in total aggregate wages within two years of their arrivals, in an economic boon to their families and the communities where they reside.

“These immigrants will also pay state and local taxes that will offset the costs to local governments,” America’s Voice said in a release following an informational Zoom webinar held in partnership with IRI,and the economic development groups Every Texan and the Colorado Fiscal Institute. “Each 1,000 new immigrant workers will add an average of $2.5 million a year to the state and local governments of their settlement, a figure that rises to $3.6 million after immigrants have been here for five years.”

“Far from taking jobs away, foreign-born workers have played a key role in America’s recent success at combining fast growth with a rapid decline in inflation,” the New York Times’ Paul Krugman observed in a recent column. “And foreign-born workers will also be crucial to the effort to deal with our country’s longer-term problems.” 

Let’s not forget how essential immigrant workers have been crucial in our nation’s recovery from the novel coronavirus pandemic, serving as frontline workers in hospitals, home healthcare services, and our nation’s food supply. While many folks were able to work from home following the implementation of sheltering policies, farmworkers had no choice but to keep working in the fields. “You can’t pick strawberries over Zoom,” Lucas Zucker, policy and communications director for the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), told Wired in 2020.

“We are very worried,” Teresa Mendoza, an undocumented immigrant farmworker in California, told Buzzfeed News in 2020. “I’m scared of getting sick. I don’t have any type of health insurance, anything to help me.”

A recent Arizona Republic story points out, immigrant workers are critical to health care and elder care. The story noted, “There is already a shortage of workers…who care for aging adults in the U.S. The shortage is expected to worsen in the coming years, especially in Arizona, where the population is growing fast, and the population of older adults is growing even faster.” A recent front page Washington Post story similarly underscored the need for more foreign-born health care workers, especially in rural areas, including North Dakota.

Immigrants are also helping keep critical programs solvent. One recent report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) found Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries have helped keep the Social Security and Medicare programs alive through their taxes, contributing more than $2 billion annually. Both are programs that DACA recipients are unable to access due to their immigration status. 

“For as long as Texas has been Texas, hard working people have united – both old and recent arrivals – in pursuit of a better, more prosperous life,” Jaime Puente, Director of Economic Opportunity of Every Texan, said during the call discussing the IRI report. “This data shows the centuries old reality continues to be true today. Rather than pitting recent and long-time Americans against each other, policymakers should recognize the humanity of new immigrants and asylum seekers as well as the benefit they bring to our economy.”

The bottom line: immigration benefits everyone, no matter what the nativists try to claim. “Immigrants do not come to take your slice of the pie,” tweeted America’s Voice Senior Director of Communication Douglas Rivlin. “They come and make the pie bigger.”