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The Economics of Immigration Reform: A Resource Page

by Immigration Policy Center

Now more than ever, Americans are seeking real solutions to our nations problems, and there is no better place to start than protecting our workers, raising wages, and getting our economy moving again.  The following IPC resources provide a strong economic case for enacting comprehensive immigration reform:

  • Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform
    A new report by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda finds that comprehensive immigration reform that includes a legalization program for unauthorized immigrants and enables a future flow of legal workers would result in a large economic benefita cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. In stark contrast, a deportation-only policy would result in a loss of $2.6 trillion in GDP over 10 years.
  • Economic Progress via Legalization: Lessons from the Last Legalization Program
    The data analyzed in IPC's latest Special Report, Economic Progress via Legalization, indicates that unauthorized immigrants who gained legal status in the 1980s through the legalization provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) experienced clear improvement in their socioeconomic situation. The findings presented in this report support the notion that legalization of unauthorized immigrants can play a role in promoting economic growth and lessening socioeconomic disparities. Reforming our immigration system is not an obstacle to getting our economy back on trackit is part of the solution.
  • A Rising Tide or a Shrinking Pie: The Economic Impact of Legalization Versus Deportation in Arizona
    Nowhere is the immigration debate more contentious than in Arizona, where in April of last year the states legislature sought to rid the state of undocumented immigrants with passage of S.B. 1070. The economic analysis in this report shows the S.B. 1070 approach would have devastating economic consequences if its goals were accomplished. When undocumented workers are taken out of the economy, the jobs they support through their labor, consumption, and tax payments disappear as well. Conversely, our analysis shows that legalizing undocumented immigrants in Arizona would yield a significant positive economic impact.
  • The Economic and Political Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in all 50 States
    Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians account for large and growing shares of the U.S. economy and electorate. Overall, immigrants made up more than 12% of the U.S. population (or nearly 38 million people) in 2008, and more than 43% of them are naturalized U.S. citizens meaning they are eligible to vote. The following state-by-state fact sheets give an overview of how much immigrants, Latinos and Asians contribute to each state's economy.
  • Strength in Diversity: What Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians Contribute to the U.S.
    America enjoys a demographic diversity that has long been a principal strength of the U.S. economy and civil society. Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians play critical economic roles as workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers.  As a result, they will be crucial players in the nations efforts to recover from the current recession.  Moreover, the immigrant, Latino, and Asian communities are key voting blocs that successful politicians cannot afford to ignore, particularly in close elections.
  • Why Immigrants Can Drive the Green Economy
    The 2000 Census found that immigrants, while accounting for 12 percent of the population, made up nearly half of the all scientists and engineers with doctorate degrees. Nearly 70 percent of the men and women who entered the fields of science and engineering from 1995 to 2006 were immigrants. So it should come as no surprise that immigrants will help drive the green revolution. America's young scientists and engineers, especially the ones drawn to emerging industries like alternative energy, tend to speak with an accent. Yet, the connection between immigration and the development and commercialization of alternative energy technology is rarely discussed.
  • Immigration Reform and Job Growth
    With the U.S. unemployment rate hovering at 10%, some have questioned whether or not now is really the right time for comprehensive immigration reform that includes the creation of a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States.  Underlying this uncertainty is the fear that native-born Americans will lose out on scarce jobs if currently unauthorized immigrants acquire legal statusdespite the obvious fact that unauthorized immigrants are already here and in the labor force.  However, the best available evidence suggests that neither legal nor unauthorized immigration is the cause of high unemployment, and that the higher wages and purchasing power which formerly unauthorized immigrants would enjoy were they to receive legal status would sustain new jobs. 
  • A Conversation about the Economic Effects of Immigration on African Americans
    Anti-immigrant groups have repeatedly tried to drive a wedge between African Americans and immigrants by capitalizing on the myth that immigrants take American jobs. In a new Perspectives piece for the Immigration Policy Center, Yale Professor Gerald Jaynes dispels the myth that immigrants take black jobs and instead suggests we find solutions on how to lift up all low-wage American workers.
  • Unauthorized Immigrants Pay Taxes, Too: Estimates of the State and Local Taxes Paid by Unauthorized Immigrant Households
    The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) has estimated that households headed by unauthorized immigrants paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2010, which includes $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes. These figures should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States. 
  • The U.S. Economy Still Needs Highly Skilled Foreign Workers
    It might seem that the recent souring of the U.S. economy and rise in unemployment has rendered moot the debate over whether or not the United States really needs the highly skilled foreign workers who come here on H-1B temporary visas.  But the demand for H-1B workers still far outstrips the current cap of only 65,000 new H-1B visas that can be issued each year.  In fact, this quota has been filled within one day in each of the last five fiscal years. The arbitrary numerical limits currently placed on H-1Bs are not only incapable of responding to the changing demand for H-1B workers, but the international competitiveness of the U.S. economy will continue to depend heavily on the contributions of H-1B professionals and other of high-skilled workers from abroad for many decades to come.

Copyright: The material above was originally produced by the American Immigration Law Foundation. Reproduced with Permission.

About The Author

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC, formed in 2003 is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.