A Trillion Dollar Boost

How a Path to Citizenship Will Boost the Economy

Reforming our broken immigration system and offering the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here a path to earned citizenship is morally right thing to do, but it’s also the economically smart thing. A new report out today from our colleagues at the Center for American Progress outlines how immigration reform will offer a tremendous boost to the economy — especially if reform includes the vital pathway to citizenship.

Here are some of the key numbers to know:

  • Cumulative increase in GDP of $1.1 TRILLION.
  • Cumulative increase in the income of all Americans of $618 BILLION.
  • Increase in federal taxes paid by undocumented immigrants of $91 BILLION.
  • Increase in state and local taxes paid by undocumented immigrants of $53 BILLION.
  • Earnings of undocumented immigrants would increase by 25.1 percent, a cumulative increase in earnings of $515 BILLION.
  • Average annual increase in jobs of 159,000.

(All figures are the gains over ten years based on undocumented immigrants acquiring legal status in 2013 and citizenship 5 years later.)

As this handy chart shows, the sooner undocumented immigrants become citizens, the bigger the boost to the economy:

It’s hard to appreciate what some of these figures mean in real life, so here are some examples of the economic benefits of immigration reform:

  • Education: The GOP budget cuts education funding per capita by 47 percent; taxes from new citizens would fund 1.5 MILLION special education teachers.
  • Infrastructure: While the GOP budget slashes spending on roads, bridges, schools, airports, and other infrastructure, taxes from new citizens could rebuild the San Francisco Bay Bridge 23 times over.
  • College Affordability: The $91 BILLION in additional federal tax revenue paid by new citizens would fund more than 16 MILLION additional Pell grants over the next ten years.
  • Teachers: The $53 BILLION in additional state revenue paid by new citizens would fund more than 1 MILLION new K-12 teachers over the next years.

For more information on how immigration reform will boost the economy, check out the full report HERE.

BOTTOM LINE: Undocumented immigrants are makers not takers and putting them on a path to earned citizenship will help these new citizens and their communities and boost the economy by over $1 TRILLION.

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Advocacy Team