The economics of immigration reform vs. self-deportation

Felicia Persaud | 10/4/2012, 2:50 p.m.
The Oktoberfest of presidential debates is here, and undoubtedly the hot-button issue of immigration reform...
Letter No. 30: Immigration reform now!

Over the first three years, higher personal income would generate increased consumer spending--enough to support 750,000-900,000 jobs in the United States--as well as increased tax revenues of $4.5 billion to $5.4 billion.

The benefits of additional growth in GDP would be spread broadly throughout the U.S. economy, but immigrant-heavy sectors such as textiles, electronic equipment and construction would see particularly large increases.

The 2009 Cato Institute report also found that "the positive impact for U.S. households of legalization ... would be 1.27 percent of GDP or $180 billion" in 2019.

Further, several past studies have found that immigrants who received legal status under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act went on to acquire more education, earn higher wages, move out of poverty and buy homes.

A 2009 study by Rob Paral & Associates for the Immigration Policy Center found that "IRCA immigrants age 25-34 years in 1990 experienced an increase of 41 percentage points in home ownership rates by 2006."

Legal status allows workers to move into better-paying occupations. For instance, a survey of Mexican men legalized under IRCA found that 38.8 percent had moved up into higher-paying occupations by 1992.

The facts are clear. You be the judge!

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.