02/06/2013 09:20 am ET

Will Immigration Reform Help Or Hurt The U.S. Economy?

Legalize or not is the hotly debated question in Washington holding the fate of 11 million undocumented immigrants on a tight rope.

Whether it’s the right thing to do or not, many are trying to determine the impact legalization would have on the economy.

Those against it, like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), argue that legalization would entice more foreigners to cross the border illegally and thus become a burden to the already ailing U.S. economy by increasing competition with U.S. – born workers and draining government-funded programs.

“Amnesty rewards illegal behavior, encourages more and is fundamentally unfair to those who have come here legally,” Kristen Williamson, a spokeswoman for FAIR said. “This is a largely low-skill, low-wage population that would now be required to file taxes, but would not necessarily be people who are paying net contributions to taxes, so they would be eligible for benefits.”

On the other side of the pole are others, however, who support and strongly advocate the need to legalize immigrants, alleging that it’s the key to vitalize the U.S. economy.

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