Immigration reform could spark a $1.4 trillion boom

A study finds that granting citizenship to undocumented workers would increase pay, tax revenue and overall spending.

By Jason Notte Mar 22, 2013 3:20PM
Undocumented workers till an asparagus field near Toppenish, Wash., on the Yakama Indian Reservation (© Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)Adding 203,000 new jobs, $184 billion in tax revenue and $1.4 trillion to the nation's overall economy seems like a pretty good idea for a country clawing its way out of an economic downturn.

Would Americans still think it's a good idea if that boom required granting undocumented immigrants immediate citizenship? The answer might be less than unanimous, but the folks at the Center For American Progress say it's an idea worth considering sooner rather than later.

Five years after gaining citizenship, undocumented workers would make 25.1% more annually, according to a study obtained by The Huffington Post. That raise will "ripple through the economy" as immigrants use their income to buy goods and pay taxes.

The plan, as with nearly any mention of immigration reform in the U.S., has drawn its fair share of criticism. In his book "Immigration Wars: Forging An American Solution," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush insists that the economic benefits of a path to citizenship are outweighed by the potential damage to the "integrity of our immigration system."

The junior senator from Bush's state, Republican Marco Rubio, flat-out disagrees and has joined Arizona Sen. John McCain in calling for a clear and immediate path to citizenship for undocumented workers. They wouldn't be the first or even the most high-profile Republicans to make that call, either.

In 1986, Ronald Reagan made immigration a priority of his presidency by instituting the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which National Public Radio recently spotlighted for granting amnesty and, eventually, citizenship to undocumented workers who had been in the country since 1982.

How did that work out? Ask the Department of Labor, which reports that immigrants granted citizenship under Reagan's plan got a 15.1% bump in pay immediately afterward.

But what if Americans just aren't ready for such a sweeping change in immigration policy? Then they're going to have to wait a whole lot longer for a payout while they make up their minds. The Center For American Progress study showed that delaying the citizenship process could put off benefits for both workers and the greater economy by a decade or more.

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Mar 22, 2013 3:45PM
How does adding an estimated 11 million to our workforce increase wages? Supply and demand  (and common sense) dictates that more competition for jobs leads to lower wages. I'm sure that companies are licking their chops at the thought of being able to hire these people. And isn't that what it is all about? Corporate America wants it so citizens, grab your ankles!!
Mar 23, 2013 12:04AM
The logic of this article is absurd. When Reagan legalized millions he encouraged millions more to come here illegally. Those illegals were hired at low wages, leaving many legal workers out of work. Unemployment rose, as it will this time if millions more are legalized. Using the logic of the Center of American Progress we may as well allow tens of millions to immigrate here. The more the merrier. Heck, we can empty all of Mexico, Latin America, India, and many other places. We can increase our population to 2 billion, and be filthy rich too. Wow...I can't wait. 
Mar 22, 2013 6:57PM
Believe this crap and I will sell you a bridge too!  MSN Crap!
Mar 22, 2013 7:48PM
Mar 22, 2013 6:45PM

All those guesser polls, estimates, need to realistic. Their domestics (cleaning, gardening and ect.) are not full time and able to collect unemployment, welfare  and any other benefits. Throw in the seasonal jobs and other low paying jogs as well. If they think that employers are automatically are going to pay benefits and taxes, think again. Huffington post "ripple" is in effect NOW: the immigrants are buying goods. The other joke is the 25.1%. The average full time employee works 2000 hours a year and if he makes $10 an hour or $20,000 a year in wages. The end of the first year he would get a realistic raise between 1 and 3%, I'll use 3%. In 5 years they will earn $3185.49 which is about 16%, not 25%. In my opinion the economy probably will allow less than 3%  per year in raises.

Why do we sit and watch the soothe Sayers spin their tales about utopia when the economy is going to hell in a basket: they want us dumbed down and doing well with it.

Mar 23, 2013 12:13AM
In 1982 we were told that if we legalize millions of undocumented workers that would be the end of it. Of course it wasn't. That legalization encouraged millions more to come here illegally. This time around we're told once again that if we legalize 11 million undocumented workers that will be the end of it. Of course it won't. Millions more will come here illegally. And they will take jobs from those here legally. The reason why: Business loves cheap labor. Business has an insatiable demand for cheap labor. A "path to citizenship" won't alter that one bit. 
Mar 22, 2013 4:15PM
Who writes this bs? Maybe a 25% increase but Reagan did it and he only got 15% Why do supporters of immigration reform always show migrant workers in a field? Looks like some sort of slavery to me and we all know how that works out. I say throw  11 million illegal's out and then people who already have the desire to work may have a job. Americans know how to spend money and pay taxes.
Mar 22, 2013 5:33PM

I don't buy it.  #1.. theres only so much cash.. one person getting more means someone getting less. or its just being spent in a different way  #2. They are already here spending money  #3. they are already here doing the work 


How does making them a legal citizen change that?

Mar 22, 2013 9:02PM

Good Grief, financial advice from the Huffington Post and The Center for American Progress. Two of the few remaining bastions of Marxist economic theory that remain after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Communist Chinese gave up on this type of stupidity years ago, and we've been embracing it. No wonder the Chinese economy will eclipse us within two years.  

Mar 23, 2013 9:22AM
Most of the money made by southern immigrants goes back to their country because their families live a lot better with American dollars backing them. The only thing "reform" is going to do is cost American Taxpayers more and more Americans out of work because of cheaper labor costs. I grew up in a farming town and have seen this year after year.
Mar 23, 2013 10:01AM
The only one who will like this is the president of Mexico. Less people for him to take care of
Mar 23, 2013 6:49PM
Wow! Just think how well off well all be if we could absorb all of the tribesmen from Africa and the Australian outback too! Why we could write our own ticket here in the new $1.00 per hour wage America! Not to mention all of the endless sucking of social services and a huge spike in crime that hasn't been seen since the start of the Dark Ages. Things are lookin' up!
Mar 23, 2013 5:16PM
If it was such a good idea to have made them legal then , why have  so many American jobs been outsourced since then?

ok let's do the math increase tax revenue by $184 billion this means the 203,000 new jobs are going to pay at 15 percent tax rate $6,042,692 a year wages per person.


And only add $1.2 trillion to the national GDP not the $1.4 trillion as the article stated.





Mar 22, 2013 7:12PM



Mar 23, 2013 9:56PM
The article is totally bogus. There is ZERO potential for gain from legalizing certain immigrants. This is another ruse to sidestep the issue of scholastic terrorism. Zombies with post-graduate degrees want the ignorant as customers because everyone else knows those ploys and how to thwart them.
Mar 23, 2013 11:57AM

Blacks were brought here from greed and look what we ended up with. Now we

have latins here for greed purposes and they are "illegal". If you forgive this criminal

why not take the killers, rapist, etc into your home for your wife and children to use

and enjoy.

Mar 23, 2013 5:20AM
I would like to keep the jobs here and everyone pay their tax cuts for anyone capable of working. 
Mar 24, 2013 3:11PM
Using that logic if we took in the entire world of poor people we could all be millionaires!!!
Mar 24, 2013 8:00AM
Not to mention all the new low information voters that would be added to the democrat's voter rolls.  This is just another in the series of mis-information articles to be found on this site which is nothing more than an extension of the DNC and designed to promote the Big Lie by defending any policy, actual or proposed, that we intuitively know to be bad.  The libs claim to be "for the little guy" and "champions of minorities" yet look where their policies have led these groups.  The little guy is worse off than ever and black unemployment leads most if not all groups.  Imagine if we had a White Caucus in congress looking out for the "well being" of whites.  God help us if their results mirrored those of the Black Caucus.
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