Skip to Content

Programs:

Economics of Immigration

Statistical Hot Air: FAIR’s USA Report Lacks Credibility

Many politicians who champion the deport-them-all approach to unauthorized immigrants have been relying upon a bloated and deeply distorted report issued by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in July 2010.  That report, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers, is not a credible source of data, yet its numbers have been cited repeatedly in this year’s debates over immigration legislation in the states.  The report relies upon flawed and empirically baseless assumptions to inflate its estimate of the costs which unauthorized immigrants impose on federal, state, and local governments.  Much of what FAIR counts as the cost of unauthorized immigration is actually the cost of education and healthcare for U.S.-citizen children.  In fact, over half of FAIR’s cost estimate consists of educational and healthcare expenditures for the children of unauthorized immigrants, of whom nearly three-quarters are native-born U.S. citizens.  These native-born children are counted as a “cost” of illegal immigration if they are under 18, but as U.S. citizens if they are working, taxpaying adults.  In its rush to place a price tag on unauthorized immigrants, FAIR is unable to see that investing in children today pays off economically tomorrow.  FAIR also neglects to mention the enormous fiscal and economic costs that would be incurred by attempting to remove unauthorized immigrants from the United States.  As the negative impact of anti-immigrant legislation on the fiscal bottom-line becomes more apparent, many taxpayers may begin to see that the “costs” cited by FAIR do not tell the whole story. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Mar 29, 2011 | Download File

A Rising Tide or a Shrinking Pie

By Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, Ph.D.

Our national debate over urgently needed immigration reform is now careening through our state legislatures, city halls, and town councils due to political gridlock at the federal level. And nowhere is that debate more contentious than in Arizona, where in April of last year the state’s legislature sought to rid the state of undocumented immigrants with passage of S.B. 1070. The law is specifically designed to trigger a mass exodus of undocumented immigrants from the state by making “attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.”

The economic analysis in this report shows the S.B. 1070 approach would have devastating economic consequences if its goals were accomplished. When undocumented workers are taken out of the economy, the jobs they support through their labor, consumption, and tax payments disappear as well. Particularly during a time of profound economic uncertainty, the type of economic dislocation envisioned by S.B. 1070-type policies runs directly counter to the interests of our nation as we continue to struggle to distance ourselves from the ravages of the Great Recession.Read more...

Published On: Thu, Mar 24, 2011 | Download File

Immigration Reform and Job Growth

Legalizing Unauthorized Immigrants Would Boost the U.S. Economy

With the U.S. unemployment rate hovering at 10%, some have questioned whether or not now is really the right time for comprehensive immigration reform that includes the creation of a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States.  Underlying this uncertainty is the fear that native-born Americans will lose out on scarce jobs if currently unauthorized immigrants acquire legal status—despite the obvious fact that unauthorized immigrants are already here and in the labor force.  However, the best available evidence suggests that neither legal nor unauthorized immigration is the cause of high unemployment, and that the higher wages and purchasing power which formerly unauthorized immigrants would enjoy were they to receive legal status would sustain new jobs.  Read more...

Published On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 | Download File

Explaining the Recent Decline in Unauthorized Migration

Immigration Enforcement in a Time of Recession

Recent estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center indicate that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has declined by roughly one million since 2007—bringing the total size of the unauthorized population to approximately 11.1 million.  Coming after the release of similar estimates by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in January, these figures have provoked considerable speculation as to how much of the decline is attributable to the current recession, and how much is the result of heightened immigration enforcement.  DHS, for instance, was quick to take credit for the drop, citing the money and manpower that have been poured into immigration enforcement by the Obama administration.  However, immigration researchers were just as quick to point out that unauthorized immigration has always responded to the state of the U.S. economy, and that the downward trend captured by both Pew and DHS matches up closely with the beginning of the recession in December 2007Read more...

Published On: Thu, Sep 09, 2010 | Download File

Why Immigrants Can Drive the Green Economy

By Richard T. Herman and Robert L. Smith

The 2000 Census found that immigrants, while accounting for 12 percent of the population, made up nearly half of the all scientists and engineers with doctorate degrees. Nearly 70 percent of the men and women who entered the fields of science and engineering from 1995 to 2006 were immigrants. So it should come as no surprise that immigrants will help drive the green revolution. America's young scientists and engineers, especially the ones drawn to emerging industries like alternative energy, tend to speak with an accent. Yet, the connection between immigration and the development and commercialization of alternative energy technology is rarely discussed.

In IPC's lastest Perspective on Immigration piece, Richard T. Herman and Robert L. Smith explain how policymakers envision millions of new jobs as the nation pursues renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, and hightlight the voices that warn that much of the clean-technology talent lies overseas, in nations that began pursuing alternative energy sources decades ago.

Published On: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 | Download File

The Fiscal Bottom Line on Immigration Reform

The Costs of Enforcement-Only and the Benefits of Comprehensive Reform

Tax Day is an appropriate time to take stock of a few fiscal bottom lines about immigration enforcement and immigration reform.  The federal government spends billions of taxpayer dollars every year on border and interior enforcement measures intended to deter unauthorized immigration.  While these efforts have failed to solve the problem of unauthorized immigration, they have had a negative impact on American families, communities, and the economy.  Were the United States to adopt a different approach by implementing comprehensive immigration reform, the legalization of currently unauthorized immigrants alone would generate billions of dollars in additional tax revenue as their wages and tax contributions increase over time. 

Read more...

Published On: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 | Download File

Remittance Will Be Critical to Haitians; The U.S. Benefits from Remittances As Well

In the weeks since a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, there has been much discussion of the impact the Haitian diaspora in the United States and the remittances they send to family members will have on the nation’s recovery.  According to Kristin Johnson, Ph.D., author of the IPC report, Many Happy Returns—Remittances and their Impact: How Money Sent Home by Migrant Workers Helps the American Economy, the remittances Haitians receive will be extremely important to their recovery process.  Furthermore, the money that leaves the U.S. in the form of remittances will be used by Haitians to purchase U.S. exports.  Over half of Haiti’s imports originate in the U.S., and the states with the most Haitian immigrants also have large export markets in Haiti.  In this way, the remittances that immigrants in the U.S send abroad have a positive impact on the U.S. economy and trade. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Feb 10, 2010 | Download File

Many Happy Returns: Remittances and their Impact

By Kristin Johnson, Ph.D.

Millions of immigrants in the U.S. send billions of dollars in remittances to friends and family members in their home countries each year.  While it is easy to assume that this represents a huge loss for the U.S. economy, the relationship between remittances and the U.S. economy is much more complex than meets the eye. It’s true that remittances are an important source of income for immigrant-sending countries, but remittances are also a huge boost to U.S. exports and the U.S. economy. The following IPC Special Report reveals the economic benefits of remittances to both developing nations and the U.S. economy.

 

 Read more...

Published On: Wed, Feb 10, 2010 | Download File

The Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform

A new report, “Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, finds that comprehensive immigration reform that includes a legalization program for unauthorized immigrants and enables a future flow of legal workers would result in a large economic benefit—a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. In stark contrast, a deportation-only policy would result in a loss of $2.6 trillion in GDP over 10 years.

Read more...

Published On: Mon, Jan 11, 2010 | Download File

Raising the Floor for American Workers

According to a new study by UCLA’s Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, legalizing undocumented workers through comprehensive immigration reform would yield $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP over a ten year period, generate billions in additional tax revenue and consumer spending and support hundreds of thousands of jobs. The report, which runs several different economic scenarios, finds that enacting a comprehensive immigration reform plan which creates a legalization process for undocumented workers and sets a flexible visa program dependent on U.S. labor demands not only raises the floor for all American workers, but is an economic necessity.

 

Download the Full Report

Download the Executive Summary

Download the Powerpoint

Watch the Video

Read our Blog Post

Listen to the Telebriefing:Read more...

Published On: Thu, Jan 07, 2010 | Download File