tags: , , , , AVEF, Blog

New CAP Report: The Economic Effects of Immigration Reform

Share This:

Following recent debates on immigration, legalization, and citizenship sparked by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Jeb Bush, the Center for American Progress today held a panel and released a report on the economic benefits of immigration reform that creates a pathway to citizenship.

Entitled “The Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants,” written by visiting senior fellow Robert Lynch and CAP’s Patrick Oakford, analyzes the 10-year economic impact of immigration reform under three scenarios.  The report finds that the more quickly legalization and citizenship are granted, the greater the economic benefits to the nation.

Under the first scenario, immigrants are granted legal status and citizenship immediately, resulting in:

  • $1.4 trillion in additional growth to US GDP over the next 10 years
  • $791 billion in additional personal income for all Americans
  • 203,000 more jobs created per year
  • $659 billion more in additional earnings for immigrants
  • $184 billion in additional tax revenue to federal, local, and state governments

In the second scenario the report looks at, immigrants gain legal status in 2013 and citizenship five years after; in the third, immigrants gain legal status in 2013 but do not gain citizenship within the 10-year window.  In both of the latter scenarios, the gains to the US economy are increasingly muted.  View this infographic from the report comparing the economic benefits based on when immigrants obtain legalization and citizenship:

As the report details, there are five main reasons why legalizing immigrants and putting them on the pathway to become citizens results in so many economic benefits.  When immigrants are legalized and become citizens, they:

  • Gain legal protections, allowing them to bargain for their wages and file complaints against their employers
  • Invest in education and training
  • Have access to better jobs
  • Gain access to labor mobility and increasing returns, meaning they can take jobs where their skills are more valued and relevant
  • Have more entrepreneurship opportunities, which can require permits, licenses, insurance, and loans often inaccessible to immigrants

Read the Center for American Progress’ full report here.