Immigration Reform and its Benefits to the Economy

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Currently, the United States Congress is in a heated debate over the issue of immigration and how to address the 11.6 million undocumented immigrants that call America their home. Recently, eight Senators introduced a piece of legislation titled the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The legislation calls for a legalization path for all undocumented immigrants. The process calls for applying for visas, living and working in the United States for six years, paying fines, and then doing a similar process to apply for citizenship. The process is long and arduous, but comes with a huge benefit for the entire country. As a result of legalizing undocumented immigrants in the future, the long term economic effects of the immigration bill benefit the US and provide undocumented immigrants with incentives to become citizens.

By providing a long process to citizenship that entails acquiring visas to demonstrate skill, undocumented immigrants are given the opportunity to become better workers with better skill sets and thus be able to acquire better jobs in the market. Productivity would increase as a result, and by becoming more competitive, immigrants can acquire higher paying jobs. By having better wages and more income, ability to pay taxes increases and thus government revenues increase which helps stabilize the economy in the long run (Economic Consequences). By providing undocumented immigrants with a legal process to acquire citizenship, they are being provided with the opportunity to improve their skills and demonstrate their willingness to become a part of America.

A Congressional Report conducted by neutral economists, Benjamin Page and Felix Reichling, demonstrates the benefits of the immigration bill currently proposed to Congress. Enacting S. 744, the coding given to the bill, would cause changes in at least four aspects of the labor market (Economic Impact of S. 744):

  • The size of the labor force
  • Average wages
  • Relative wages for workers with different skills
  • Employment and unemployment.

Legalizing undocumented immigrants adds to the labor force, allowing them to legally fill in vacant jobs in any part of the economy so long as they are qualified. Average wages increase due to higher skill sets and more competition, even though at first they decrease due to the economy adjusting. Unemployment would rise as well because the new citizens would be searching for jobs, but eventually employment will decrease because they will have acquired jobs that require specific skill sets that they have developed.

In conclusion, the current proposition for immigration reform brings forth economic benefits that will apply in the long run. It is important to provide a path to citizenship, and the current proposition presents a fair path that improves skills. Whether or not all politicians in Congress have read similar information as mentioned above, the current bill is very promising for solving the issue of illegal immigration and bringing economic benefits in a time of economic strife.

5 responses to “Immigration Reform and its Benefits to the Economy

  1. Maldonador I get that you are trying to say that letting immigrants become citizens is good for our economy but in your second to last paragraph the points you make seem to suggest that it will be bad for the economy. Employment decreasing is not a good effect on our economy. Maybe you meant to put increase instead of decrease but if your statement is true why would we let immigrants get citizenship?

  2. Maldonador I see that you are arguing the benefits of letting immigrants gain citizenship on our economy but I also see one major flaw in your argument. In the second to last paragraph you state that employment would decrease. Maybe you meant to put in Increase but if this is not the case, why would we want to grant immigrants citizenship?

  3. I enjoy the fact that this post discusses both long and short term economic effects. Typically Americans only focus on the short term. It is good to get a more holistic perspective on matters like immigration and the economy. I also support the idea put forth in this article because of the potential taxpayer increase that would greatly benefit the country even though immigrants due currently pay taxes.

  4. Also immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses than natural born Americans. If these businesses are successful enough than they will expand by building more locations. These locations will need employees and thus increase employment. Therefore immigrants can increase employment in the United States.

  5. I appreciate the fact that you focus on both the short and long-term economy factors. Because immigrants are more likely to support the economy, they are improving the economy by creating these small businesses. So, the fact that Americans only on the present is not what will advance society. But, do you think there is another way immigrants can improve the economy besides labor?

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