Wednesday, July 11, 2012
In response to President Obama’s recent announcement that his administration would stop deporting undocumented youth and make them eligible for work authorization, the Center for American Progress released “Top 5 Economic Benefits from the President’s Immigration Announcement,” analyzing the positive effects that the president’s decision will have on the U.S. economy.
In the column, CAP Policy Analyst Sarah Jane Glynn notes that the administration’s new policy makes good economic sense. Specifically, the announcement will benefit our economy in five key ways:
It will promote economic growth for all Americans. Ensuring that young immigrant workers have the legal status to enhance their education and skills will guarantee that their contributions to the nation’s economic growth will be maximized.
It will raise wages for native-born workers. In preventing employers from deleveraging native workers’ wages with those of undocumented workers, the “wage floor” for all workers will ultimately be higher.
It will better educate this workforce to meet the needs of today’s economy. Encouraging students to complete high school and making it easier for undocumented youth to enroll in college will lead to the greater economic growth that comes with a more highly educated workforce.
It will increase federal revenues. Overall, the Congressional Budget Office found that a path to legalization for undocumented workers would result in a net gain for government coffers, even when accounting for their resulting eligibility for social services. Providing legal status to undocumented immigrants would increase federal revenue by $48 billion and would only result in $23 billion in additional costs to public services, leaving a surplus of $25 billion in revenue for the government.
It will complement native-born workers. Immigrant workers are not a substitute for the native-born workforce. Instead, they tend to fill positions in the labor market, both lower- and higher-skilled positions, where the native-born population is not able to meet demand.
In short, this move will be good for all Americans, immigrants and native-born alike, and good for our economy as a whole. And juxtaposed against the alternative—wasting enforcement resources to block these talented individuals from contributing to our communities—this Department of Homeland Security directive is a no-brainer.