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New report indicates Arizona-style immigration laws do not favor local economies

Published on Tue, Mar 29, 2011

A report released this month aims to help state legislators considering Arizona-style immigration-enforcement bills answer this question: If S.B. 1070-type laws accomplish the declared goal of driving out all undocumented immigrants, what effect would it have on state economies?

This report comes when Florida Republican legislators in both chambers are working to change the Sunshine State’s immigration laws through bills that copy Arizona’s law while making controversial federal enforcement programs Secure Communities and 287(g) state law.

Critics of the proposed Florida bills have pointed to the civil rights and legal violations, as well as the economic burden, these bills would have on the state’s residents.

The report issued by the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Center concludes that:

• Immigrant workers as a whole added $47.1 billion to Arizona’s gross state product — the total value added by workers of goods and services produced in the state — in 2008. The undocumented workforce by itself accounted for $23.5 billion of this gross state product.

• The pre-tax earnings of immigrant workers in Arizona totaled almost $30 billion for all immigrant workers and nearly $15 billion for undocumented workers.

• The output and spending of all immigrant workers generated 1.2 million jobs in Arizona in 2008, while the output and spending of undocumented workers generated 581,000 jobs.

• The analysis estimates that immigrants on the whole paid $6 billion in taxes in 2008, while undocumented immigrants paid approximately $2.8 billion.

The report adds that the effect of deportation in Arizona would:

  • Decrease total employment by 17.2 percent.
  • Eliminate 581,000 jobs for immigrant and native-born workers alike.
  • Shrink state economy by $48.8 billion.
  • Reduce state tax revenues by 10.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the effects of legalization in Arizona would:

  • Increase total employment by 7.7 percent.
  • Add 261,000 jobs for immigrant and native-born workers alike.
  • Increase labor income by $5.6 billion.
  • Increase tax revenues by $1.68 billion.

U.S. Census Bureau data indicate that by 2008 almost 3.4 million immigrants lived in Florida. And a 2007 Florida International University study (.pdf) indicated that immigrant workers contributed about $20 billion in federal, state, local, property and sales taxes.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, the 2010 Census counted 50.5 million Hispanics in the United Sates, making up 16.3 percent of the total population. The nation’s Hispanic population, which was 35.3 million in 2000, grew 46.3 percent over the decade, and even more sharply in many Southeastern states.

Pew reports that Florida Hispanics make up over 22 percent (4.2 million resident) of the state’s population and other data shows that about 825,000 unauthorized immigrants live in Florida.

Published in the Florida Independent | Read Article