10/02/2012 08:45 am ET Updated Oct 02, 2012

DREAM Act Would Create 1.4 Million Jobs: Report

Contrary to popular belief, a more lenient immigration system may make it easier for native-born Americans to find work.

The DREAM Act, a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants that finish high school and some college or military service, would create 1.4 million jobs and add $329 billion to the U.S. economy by 2030, according to a new report from the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

Critics of the DREAM Act claim that giving amnesty to the educated children of undocumented immigrants would take jobs away from native-born Americans. But CAP found that as the children of undocumented immigrants acquire more education in the path to citizenship, they in turn become more qualified for better-paying jobs that allow them to buy more goods and services, boosting the incomes of the workers that produce those goods and services.

The CAP analysis focuses only on the economic benefits of the DREAM Act and not the costs. But the authors noted that the costs will probably be "limited," partly because immigrants' skills tend to complement the skills of the native-born rather than supplant them.

As the U.S. birth rate has plunged to new lows, the U.S. has been relying on immigration in order to maintain population growth, a necessity for boosting innovation and economic growth.

President Barack Obama supports the DREAM Act, and the House of Representatives passed it, but Senate Republicans killed the bill in 2010. Nonetheless, the Obama administration unilaterally stopped deporting young undocumented immigrants in June.