Studies Show Immigration Reform Could Give a Boost to the Economy
Add to the immigration debate following yesterday’s White House meetings a few recently published studies that could prove to be useful in pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.
One study shows that comprehensive immigration reform could add $1.5 trillion to the country’s GDP over the next 10 years by increasing consumption and investment. Comprehensive immigration reform, here, is defined as a plan that “creates a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants in the United States and establishes flexible limits on permanent and temporary immigration that respond to changes in U.S. labor demand in the future.” According to this Center for American Progress and Immigration Policy Center study, comprehensive reform would also boost wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers.
But even now, immigration is actually benefiting U.S.-born workers. Based on data from 1994 to 2007, the Economic Policy Institute published a study in February showing immigration raised the wages of U.S.-born workers by 0.4 percent ($3.68 per week), although it lowered the wages of foreign-born workers by 4.6 percent ($33.11 per week).
According to another study by the Immigration Research Initiative at the Fiscal Policy Institute, in 25 of the largest metropolitan areas, immigrants (foreign-born U.S. residents, regardless of immigration status) make up 20 percent of the population and are responsible for 20 percent of economic output. The study found that economic growth and immigration are closely connected and immigrants contribute to the economy proportionally to their population.