At their respective nominating conventions this summer, the Republican and Democratic parties could not have adopted more different platforms on the question of how to deal with the 11.5 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The platform adopted by Republicans doubles down on nearly every extreme enforcement tactic, with the goal of “self-deportation,” or driving all undocumented immigrants out of the country. In contrast, the platform adopted by Democrats calls for the practical, forward-looking reforms that were once embraced by leaders in both parties—even by a Republican whose name was conspicuously absent during their convention, former President George W. Bush.
In this infographic we illustrate what would happen to our economy during the four years of the next presidential administration based on the respective immigration policies of the two political parties. Specifically, we look at the consequences for overall economic growth, jobs, and taxes of either deporting 11.5 million undocumented immigrants (including 8 million workers, as the Republican platform would do) versus enabling them to earn legal status (as the Democratic platform would do):
Citation Footnote: GDP and jobs changes have been calculated using averages from a national computable general equilibrium economic model of immigration policy, as well as individual state economic models using the so-called IMPLAN system; both scenarios assume a 100 percent change in status, either 100 percent mass deportation or 100 percent legalization. Employment changes are based on a 2:1 ratio of GDP growth (or contraction) to employment growth (or contraction.) GDP and total workforce numbers come from 2011 estimates. See: Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, “Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform” (Washington: Center for American Progress, 2010), available here; Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, “The Consequences of Legalization Versus Mass Deportation” (Washington: Center for American Progress, 2012), available here; Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts Tables, Table 1.1.5 Gross Domestic Product (Department of Commerce, 2011); Bureau of Labor Statistics, Household Data, Annual Averages, 1. Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, 1941 to date (U.S. Department of Labor) available here.
On local and state tax revenue from undocumented immigrants, see: Immigration Policy Center, “Unauthorized Immigrants Pay Taxes, Too” (2011), available here.
On the cost of mass deportation, see: Marshall Fitz, Gebe Martinez, and Madura Wijewardena, “The Costs of Mass Deportation: Impractical, Expensive, and Ineffective” (Washington: Center for American Progress, 2010), available here.
Federal tax revenue increases have been calculated using the wage increases reported in Hinojosa-Ojeda, “Raising the Floor,” using the Congressional Budget Office average federal tax rate for the middle quintile in 2009 (11.1 percent), the latest year in which data is available. Congressional Budget Office, “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2008 and 2009” (2012), available here.
Marshall Fitz is Director of Immigration Policy and Philip E. Wolgin is Immigration Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.