August 1, 2011

THE RIGHT KILLED REFORM AND LOOK AT THE ECONOMY THEY GAVE US:

Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, January 7, 2010 , Center for American Progress)

he historical experience of legalization under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act indicates that comprehensive immigration reform would raise wages, increase consumption, create jobs, and generate additional tax revenue. Even though IRCA was implemented during an economic recession characterized by high unemployment, it still helped raise wages and spurred increases in educational, home, and small-business investments by newly legalized immigrants. Taking the experience of IRCA as a starting point, we estimate that comprehensive immigration reform would yield at least $1.5 trillion in cumulative U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. This is a compelling economic reason to move away from the current "vicious cycle" where enforcement-only policies perpetuate unauthorized migration and exert downward pressure on already low wages, and toward a "virtuous cycle" of worker empowerment in which legal status and labor rights exert upward pressure on wages.

This report uses a computable general equilibrium model to estimate the economic ramifications of three different scenarios: 1) comprehensive immigration reform 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; 2) a program for temporary workers only that does not include a pathway to permanent status or more flexible legal limits on permanent immigration in the future; and 3) mass deportation to expel all unauthorized immigrants and effectively seal the U.S.-Mexico border. The model shows that comprehensive immigration reform produces the greatest economic benefits:

Comprehensive immigration reform generates an increase in U.S. GDP of at least 0.84 percent. Summed over 10 years, this amounts to a cumulative $1.5 trillion in additional GDP. It also boosts wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers.
The temporary worker program generates an increase in U.S. GDP of 0.44 percent. This amounts to $792 billion of cumulative GDP over 10 years. Moreover, wages decline for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers.
Mass deportation reduces U.S. GDP by 1.46 percent. This amounts to $2.6 trillion in cumulative lost GDP over 10 years, not including the actual cost of deportation.


Immigration reform would have been the best stimulus package the Democrats could have passed when they took power. In its absence, nothing else they did mattered.


Posted by at August 1, 2011 3:47 PM
  

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