In an open letter released by the American Action Forum (AAF) on Thursday, 111 conservative economists signed a pro-immigration reform letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In an effort to garner conservative support to the immigration reform debate, the letter cited the economic benefits of passing an immigration legislation that would help to reduce the deficit.
The letter does not aim to win over Republicans like Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) who staunchly oppose legalization, but it will help Republican leaders on the sideline whose allegiance relies on the signing power of prominent conservative-leaning, pro-immigration supporters like AAF president Douglas Holtz-Eakin and former Republican presidential advisers, R. Glenn Hubbard, Arthur Laffer, Edward Lazear, and Lawrence Lindsey. Additionally, Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) released a statement showing his support of an immigration overhaul.
Of one of the many reasons that these conservative economists support the bill, Holtz-Eakin wrote, “according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) an additional 0.1 percent in average economic growth will, over a ten-year period, reduce the federal deficit by over $300 billion.” The CBO is a nonpartisan group that has joined a legion of economic organizations that have concluded that long-term legalization creates positive economic benefits. The CBO findings comes on the heels of a letter written by Stephen Gross, chief actuary of the Social Security Administration who was commissioned by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to find out the economic impact of the Senate immigration bill. Gross also found that the decade-long legalization process would generate more than $275 billion in revenue for Social Security.
The direct effects of immigration reform would induce a labor-force growth, which in turn would raise the gross domestic product. “A reformed and efficient immigration system” in which a longitudinal study has shown to keep federal benefit systems afloat, would as Holtz-Eakin’s letter puts it, “promote economic growth and ease the challenge of reforming unsustainable federal health and retirement programs.”