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.