"A Trillion More Reasons to Support Immigration Reform"
New Report Proves Reform Will Boost the Economy, Reduce the Deficit
A new report out last night from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office offers up nearly a trillion additional reasons to support immigration reform with a pathway to earned citizenship.
The report was full of good news:
Reform will decrease federal budget deficits by $197 BILLION over a ten year period between 2014 to 2023 Between 2024 and 2033, federal budget deficits would be cut by an additional $700 billion.
Opponents of immigration reform had assumed that new citizens becoming eligible for Obamacare and other benefits would add to the deficit during the second ten-year period, so much so that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) specifically asked the CBO to analyze that period. Much to their surprise, the CBO findings underscore that the tremendous economic benefits of reform, including millions of new taxpayers, significantly outweigh any additional costs.
Just to put these deficit reduction numbers in context, here’s the impact of some of the deficit reduction policies Republicans favor:
Raising the Medicare age to 67 would save $125 BILLION over the next decade — $72 BILLION less than immigration reform. Switching to a different measure of inflation (so-called chained-CPI) that will reduce Social Security and other benefits would save $130 BILLION over the next decade — $67 BILLION less than immigration reform. Cutting off SNAP (food stamps) benefits for nearly 2 MILLION people, as the Farm Bill that House Republicans are currently debating does, would save $21 BILLION over the next decade — $176 BILLION less than immigration reform. Denying the child tax credit to the immigrant parents of American citizen children, as Republicans have repeatedly proposed, would save $24 BILLION over the next decade — $172 BILLION less than immigration reform.
Fortunately, we don’t have do any of these things and we can still enjoy dramatic deficit reduction, boost our economy, and make millions of peoples’ lives better.
The CBO report also found, contrary to the talking points of reform opponents, that a pathway to earned citizenship and other changes to the immigration system will not lower wages for American workers. In fact, it will eventually help increase wages for new citizens and native-born Americans alike.
This bolsters two previous findings from our Center for American Progress colleagues:
Reform with a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 MILLION undocumented will boost the economy by a cumulative $832 BILLION over the next decade. Putting undocumented immigrants onto a pathway to earned citizenship will allow them to contribute more than $600 BILLION (net) to help strengthen Social Security during the decades when the Baby Boomers are putting the system under stress.
Beyond these numbers, we also know bringing 11 MILLION people out of the shadows and fixing our broken system is simply the right thing to do.
BOTTOM LINE: Fixing our broken immigration will is the moral thing to do and the smart thing to do. It will grow our economy, raise wages, reduce the deficit, and help strengthen programs like Medicare and Social Security.