Fresh off their victory in the midterm elections this month, Republicans in Congress are prioritizing their agenda for the 112th session. At the top: jobs, debt, and the economy. Meanwhile all signs of addressing real and necessary immigration reform are fading quickly. In light of this, let’s take a look at how immigration reform could aid in growing the U.S. economy.
A new report, “Raising the Floor for American Workers,” found that legalizing undocumented workers through comprehensive immigration reform would yield $1.5 trillion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product over a 10 year period, generate billions in taxes and support hundreds of thousands of jobs.
There are logical reasons for this. When people shop at the mall, we all benefit, regardless of who those shoppers are. When more people receive paychecks, Uncle Sam collects more taxes. When people are legally able to attain a job, they will open bank accounts, purchase homes, start businesses and invest.
Some argue this increased consumer power comes at the cost of jobs that belong to citizens. The opposite is true. Immigrants arriving to work in America frequently work low-skilled, low-paying jobs that today are rapidly moving overseas.
In the study “Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs,” economists describe companies moving offshore as competing directly with immigrants within our own borders for the same low-wage jobs they are trying to move abroad. The report found that when “immigration is rising as a share of employment in an economic sector, offshoring tends to fall, and vice versa.” Simply put, immigrants are fighting for low-paying jobs here, while American businesses search for cheaper labor elsewhere.