Immigration Reform Can Bring $1.5 Trillion Economic Growth

By Jorge Rivas Jan 12, 2010

The Center for American Progress teamed up with UCLA Chicano studies professor Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda to study the economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform. The report, "Raising the floor for American workers: the economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform", calls for comprehensive immigration reform that legalizes currently undocumented immigrants and creates "flexible legal limits" on future immigration that fluctuates according to U.S. labor demand. The argument is that if all workers have a legal status to work it would raise the “wage floor” for the entire U.S. economy—to the benefit of both immigrant and native-born workers. The report lays out a strong argument for legalization using "computable general equilibrium model" (fancy math and science) to estimate the economic results of three different reform scenarios: temporary work visas, mass deportations and comprehensive immigration reform. The report recommends Comprehensive Immigration Reform "that creates a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States, and establish new, flexible legal limits on permanent and temporary immigration that respond to changes in U.S. labor demand in the future." This scenario could change the lives for many undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S. But when we consider guest worker programs, we must also remember the long history the US has with these policies. All workers should have legal protections that include work safety, opportunities to change their status and ownership of their Visas.