Immigration Battle Seems Heedless of Economic Boons to Americans

July 18, 2013 in Politics, Top News

Immigration Demonstrators at Capitol

Immigration demonstrators protest before the U.S. Capitol. Source: FIRM.

A bi-partisan effort in the U.S. Senate passed the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” in a 68–32 vote June 27. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates S. 744 would serve to profit the American economy in a number of ways. It would also pave the way to citizenship for millions of undocumented persons in the U.S. and increase security along the Mexican border. Now that the bill moves to the House, Republican congressman are poised to stifle to bill on their own grounds.

“We’ll do our own bill, through regular order and it’ll be a bill that reflects the will of our majority and the people we represent,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a weekly meeting according to GOP aides.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the bill’s sponsors, said according to CNN, “No one should dispute [that] like every sovereign nation on this planet, we have a right to control who comes in. But unlike other countries, we are not afraid of people coming in here from other places.”

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich stated, “The battle over immigration reform is often about economic fear — fear that immigrants are hurting the economy for native born Americans.  But that fear is based on several economic myths:

“…while [immigrants] seek citizenship, undocumented workers will be required to pay into Social Security and Medicare even though they won’t be eligible for them. They’re also younger on average than the typical worker, so even when they’re citizens they’ll be paying into Social Security and Medicare far longer.”

Reich goes on to explain the number of jobs in the U.S. is not fixed, but will continue to grow along with the economy. The American population is also becoming senior-heavy. It currently takes three workers to support every retiree, as opposed to five 40 years ago. He postulates no economy can survive two workers doing that job. Younger workers are simply a necessity to a vital economy he calculates.

The CBO surmises proposed immigration reform would promote the economy, create jobs and reduce the federal deficit. They estimate the gross domestic product of the U.S. would increase 3.3 percent by 2023 and 5.4 percent by 2033, resulting in $1.4 trillion total economic growth. Requiring employers to include off-the-books workers on the tax rolls would also increase revenues by $850 billion in the same timeframe.

The summary and full report by the CBO is available here, along with supporting documents.