06/24/2013 10:01 am ET

Granting Undocumented Immigrants Citizenship Would Boost Economy, 75 Percent Of Americans Say


Most Americans believe immigration reform would be good for the economy -- the same conclusion borne out by a lot of research.

To be exact, 75 percent of Americans agree that granting undocumented immigrants legal status would be good for the economy, according to a recent report from Pew Research. But about half say that if undocumented immigrants were to gain legal status they would take jobs away from U.S. citizens.

The findings come as the Senate is slated to hold its first vote Monday on an amendment aimed at clearing the way for its passage by addressing Republican concerns with the proposal. If the immigration reform bill -- proposed by the "Gang of Eight" of bipartisan legislators -- is signed into law, it would create a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.

A a myriad of research has indicated that Americans are correct in assuming that granting undocumented immigrants legal status would boost the economy.

The immigration reform bill would shrink the deficit by $197 billion over the next 10 years and $700 billion over the following decade, according to a report released earlier this month by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That's less than that estimated by the American Action Forum, the conservative think tank that predicted in April that immigration reform would reduce the deficit by $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

Granting undocumented immigrants legal status would likely also help the nation grapple with some of its other fiscal woes. The immigration reform bill would boost the trust fund used to finance Social Security by adding more workers who would contribute payroll taxes to its coffers, according to a May analysis from the Social Security Administration.

The conclusions are slightly more mixed when it comes to how native workers would fare if immigration reform passes, but there’s evidence to suggest it could help some U.S.-born workers. An influx of immigrant workers would give a small boost to the wages of native workers overall, according to a January analysis from The Hamilton Project, though the wages of low-wage workers would likely fall slightly.

Still, it’s likely immigration reform would create more jobs, according to multiple analyses. For one, immigrants now residing the country legally are more likely to start businesses and employ more workers. In addition, legal immigrants are more likely to vie for jobs outside of the low-wage sector, cutting down on competition.



11 Ways Immigration Reform Helps The Economy