Increasing The Number Of Immigrants Will Reduce America’s Deficit

Washington has spent much of the last three years focused on how to bring down the nation’s deficit, and that has extended into the ongoing debate about immigration reform. Conservative opponents have argued that immigration reform will be too costly for both the nation and domestic workers, despite studies showing that it will boost gross domestic product and workers’ wages.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), however, estimates that increasing the number of legal immigrants will itself reduce the deficit, as this chart highlighted by Quartz’s Tim Fernholz shows:

The OMB estimates (pdf, p. 56) that increasing immigration by 300,000 people a year, to 1.3 million, would be the equivalent of 0.6% of GDP in deficit reduction, or about $100 billion, each year between 2014 and 2088. Sounds like plan to tackle the debt to me.

Other studies have shown that immigration reform will have a net positive effect on the overall economy. The Center for American Progress, for instance, found that reform with a 10-year path to citizenship would lead to a $1.1 trillion increase in GDP over the next decade while boosting income, tax revenues, and jobs created over that period as well. Even a reform plan like the Gang of 8 proposal, which includes a 13-year path to citizenship, would boost the economy by $832 billion, growth that would naturally bring down deficits and debt with it.