10/29/2013 12:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How To Defend Immigration Reform To Your Friends, In 2 Charts

You’re at a party. Some guy starts ranting about how immigration reform is going to totally wreck the economy. It’s time to think fast. What do you say? What do you do? Here’s a two-chart guide, with a one-point addendum:

1) The immigration reforms currently under consideration wouldn’t hinder economic growth at all. Quite the opposite! According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank co-founded by former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole, the proposals -- which would include creating a potential path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants -- would actually increase GDP by a cumulative 4.8 percent over the next 20-odd years:

gdp growth

2) The immigration reforms also aren’t going to further deepen our federal deficit. Again, quite the opposite! BPC found immigration reform would lure many working immigrants of a younger age than the current U.S. population, which would in turn help to reduce the deficit by $1.17 trillion over a 20-year period (that’s an average of $60 billion per year):

immigration deficit

3) So with economic growth and the federal deficit out of the way, we’re left with the issue of wages. Here, we have to play the long game, because wages as a whole would be expected to fall at first (math alert: influx of people + same number of jobs = people willing to work for less).

However, the BPC report predicts that by 2023 those same wages would be above where they would be if we did nothing to address immigration.

(Another important point: Undocumented immigrants who gain legal status could also see their wages rise, but those estimates range from 0 to 12 percent.)

Have fun at the party!



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