The Economic Impacts of Removing Unauthorized Immigrant Workers: North Carolina
Immigration has been a key focus for this election cycle. There are an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in and contributing to the United States, many of whom have deep roots in the country and are part of mixed-status families.1 In 2015, Donald Trump began his presidential campaign labeling immigrants as “rapists” and broadly accusing them of “bringing crime” to the United States.2 Since then, he has continued to subscribe to that same narrative as he repeatedly criminalizes and belittles the immigrant community and looks to mass deportations as a solution to the nation’s broken immigration system.3 A new report from the Center for American Progress examines the economic consequences of mass deportation in terms of national and state gross domestic product, or GDP, losses in the 12 major sectors of the economy.4
However, Trump’s policy of mass deportation goes beyond monetary costs—it would tear North Carolina families apart:
- There are an estimated 338,000 unauthorized individuals in the state of North Carolina.5
- There are 152,000 citizen children of unauthorized parents who would have been eligible for the president’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, program had the U.S. Supreme Court not blocked the implementation of the program with a tie vote.6
In addition to the losses per industry:
- Trump’s plan to mass deport 11 million unauthorized immigrants would cost the country $114 billion, at an average of $10,070 per person.7
- In contrast, putting unauthorized immigrants on a pathway to citizenship would add a cumulative $1.2 trillion to U.S. GDP over a decade, increase the earnings of all Americans by $625 billion, and create an average of 145,000 new jobs each year.8
The majority of Americans disagree with Donald Trump:
- 66 percent of Americansoppose “deporting all immigrants who are living in the United States illegally,” according to a June 2016 Gallup poll.9
- 88 percent of Americans—including 80 percent of Trump supporters—support legislation that would allow unauthorized immigrants “who have been in this country for a number of years, hold a job, speak English and are willing to pay any back taxes that they owe … to stay in this country rather than being deported and eventually allow them to apply for U.S. citizenship,” according to a September 2016 CNN poll.10
- Jeffrey Passel and D’Vera Cohn, “Unauthorized immigrant population stable for half a decade,” Pew Research Center, September 21, 2016, available at http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/21/unauthorized-immigrant-population-stable-for-half-a-decade/.
- The Washington Post, “Full text: Donald Trump announces a presidential bid,” June 16, 2015, available at
- Elise Foley, “Donald Trump Just Cranked Up The Volume On Immigration,” The Huffington Post, available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-immigration-speech_us_57c77e0ce4b0e60d31dd2126.
- Ryan Edwards and Francesc Ortega, “The Economic Impacts of Removing Unauthorized Immigrant Workers: An Industry- and State-Level Analysis” (Washington: Center for American Progress, 2016), available at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/report/2016/09/21/144363/the-economic-impacts-of-removing-unauthorized-immigrant-workers/.
- Migration Policy Institute, “Profile of the Unauthorized Population: North Carolina,” available at http://www.migrationpolicy.org/data/unauthorized-immigrant-population/state/NC (last accessed September 2016).
- Lizet Ocampo, “DAPA Matters to U.S. Citizen Family Members in States Across the Country,” Center for American Progress, March 22, 2016, available at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2016/03/22/133797/dapa-matters-to-u-s-citizen-family-members-in-states-across-the-country/.
- Philip E. Wolgin, “What Would It Cost to Deport 11.3 Million Unauthorized Immigrants?”, Center for American Progress, August 18, 2015, available at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2015/08/18/119474/what-would-it-cost-to-deport-11-3-million-unauthorized-immigrants/.
- Silva Mathema, “Infographic: Inaction on Immigration Is Too Costly,” Center for American Progress, April 9, 2015, available at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2015/04/09/110589/infographic-inaction-on-immigration-is-too-costly/.
- Gallup, “Immigration,” available at http://www.gallup.com/poll/1660/immigration.aspx (last accessed September 2016).
- Poll conducted by CNN and ORC International on September 1–4, 2016, available at http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/09/06/immigration.pdf.pdf.