Democrats & Liberals Archives

Improving Economy by Legalizing Undocumented

What does comprehensive immigration reform have to do with improving our economy? It may not be immediately obvious, but a little thought will show that there is a strong connection between the two. As a matter of fact, a recent UCLA study shows that comprehensive immigration reform that includes an earned path to legalization of undocumented immigrants would boost our economy in a big way.

A new study by Professor Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, at the University of California at Los Angeles concludes that such an immigration reform program could add at least $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP (gross domestic product) over 10 years. This is how he explains it:

All immigrant workers in this scenario have full labor rights, which results in higher wages — and higher worker productivity—for all workers in industries where large numbers of immigrants are employed. As wage and productivity levels rise, the U.S. economy’s demand for new immigrant workers actually declines over time as the market shrinks for easily exploited, low-wage, low-productivity workers. [...]

The higher earning power of newly legalized workers translates into an increase in net personal income of $30 to $36 billion, which would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue. Moreover, an increase in personal income of this scale would generate consumer spending sufficient to support 750,000 to 900,000 jobs.

Not only will we greatly increase the GDP but we will collect about $5 billion more in taxes and produce an additional 750,000 to 900,000 jobs. Comprehensive immigration reform will be good for all of us. It will remove the immigration thorn from our politics. It will provide extra jobs, mitigating somewhat the jobless recovery. It will help reduce the federal deficit.

Overall, comprehensive immigration reform will be a boon to our anaemic economic recovery. Let's do it.

Posted by Paul Siegel at January 7, 2010 6:51 PM
Comments
Comment #293466

Any immigration reforms of the past have only, at best, pushed the problem to the next generation. I see no reason to expect that this one will “remove the immigration thorn from our politics”.

Posted by: Jim Buckley at January 7, 2010 7:43 PM
Comment #293471

I agree Paul; I’m all for any proposal that will move immigrants from an illegal status to a legal one.

However, I have to agree with Jim, it will not remove immigration from our politics. It may delay it a few years like the amnesty program did in the 80’s.

Posted by: Rob at January 7, 2010 9:51 PM
Comment #293477

It is irrelevant. The level of bi-partisan opposition was extreme last time and this time with 18% unemployment will boggle the mind. A Rep or Senator will be giving up his or her office if they support any amnesty. Need to start taking business licenses away for companies hiring illegal aliens; once the jobs go away these 12 million will go home on their own.

Posted by: Jason at January 7, 2010 11:54 PM
Comment #293481

illegal immigration was innitially a problem of illegal employment, which it still is today for the most part. Most illegal immigrants do jobs American’s have learned to scoff at. But slowly and surely, most jobs that helped secure a living for most Americans have been shipped overseas.

there literally just isn’y any work anymore. America was built on manufacturing and now we build next to nothing. While I’m all for granting legality to the current illegal aliens as a way to increase tax revenue, there just aren’t any jobs for them to have. Cu

At the same time, these people are, for the most part, highly unskilled and barely speak a sentence of english. There is a limit to how far any of these people could go. All the low-skilled jobs are already filled by (mostly) by immigrants already, either type, so having so many new tax-paying Americans who couldn’t afford to pay their taxes would just totally bankrupt the country by pretty much requiring we give all these new Americans welfare and other such protections Americans can (usually) expect.

There’s literally no fix for this. There’s also no fix for what ales this country, at least there’s no true will to fix it and that’s the same thing really. Illegal immigration has already hurt our country quite a bit. Adding tens of millions of new Americans who would expect all the benefits Americans expect would literally put the nail in this country’s coffin!

Posted by: mike falino at January 8, 2010 7:40 AM
Comment #293494


Paul, IMO, the study that you have mentioned is flawed. It is based on assumptions that may or maynot be true.

The author assumes that all illegal immigrants want to become citizens. That is not true.

The author states that comprehensive immigration reform will lead to higher wages for the illegals and American low wage workers. That is also untrue.

Since the last immigration reform done by our goverment, wages have stagnated for millions of Americans and millions more have seen their jobs disappear or seen their wages decline.

This propaganda line will work well on liberals only. They want to believe.

If legalizing illegals will do so much to improve our economy, employing the twenty million Americans that are permanently unemployed will do far more to improve our economy and raise the standard of living for Americans.

Posted by: jlw at January 8, 2010 2:04 PM
Comment #293502

I agree with jlw get the unemployed jobs first. That alone would help the economy.

Posted by: KAP at January 8, 2010 5:53 PM
Comment #293521

Illegals hurt the economy by taking jobs that would otherwise go to legal citizens, and also by lowering wages, thus negatively impacting the purchasing base that retailers and service organizations need to remain in business.

Legalizing them may not be the best idea around, but trying to take care of the immigration problem by concentrating efforts on the illegals is chasing false hope.

Help the economy by fining those businesses that hire illegals ten percent more than they save by hiring them. Use the same criteria for individuals who use illegals for personal services, such as maid and lawn care…fine those individuals ten percent more than they save by hiring them.

Doing that would pump monies back into the economy by way of the fines imposed, as those fines would be money kept in America, and not sent south of the border. And it would free up jobs for citizens.

As long as an illegal can make a buck, jumping the border will never stop. Take away the incentive and jumping the border will dwindle to nothing, and without another person being detained or jailed for coming here for a job.

When businesses and individuals find out it costs more to hire an illegal than it does to hire an American citizen…wallah!

Politicians get a lot of mileage out of this so-called ‘illegal immigration’ problem, but it is only a problem because we insist on enforcing the wrong laws.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 9, 2010 12:43 PM
Comment #293525

well Marysdude

i’ve got to admit i’m suprised, but for the first time i can remember, i actually agree with everything you’ve said. kinda scary isn’t it?

Posted by: dbs at January 9, 2010 6:24 PM
Comment #293527

It is scary I sgree with him to dbs.

Posted by: KAP at January 9, 2010 7:21 PM
Comment #293539

Paul
Wow! Your not allowed to make sense about immigration. Don’t you know that? We need to keep undocumented people around so that we can shift the bad economic news on them instead of the parasitic investing class. Don’t you know anything about American history?

I recall watching a news special about the meatpacking industry.Upton Sinclair,where are you? One woman was complainning that the jobs involved used to be good well paying union jobs before all the immigrants showed up. Get that,UNION jobs. The decline in standards was not the fault of immigrant workers but the companies that used them to get rid of the unions. Guess what? Given a chance, immigrant workers can and do join unions. Why? Because they are not stupid and realize that 25$ an hour is better than $10. To get around the impossible political obstacle of immigration reform and still have much of the same effect its time to get rid of the union busting laws on the books and give workers,all workers,even if they are from Mars, the opportunity to bargain collectively.

Posted by: bills at January 10, 2010 4:43 AM
Comment #293540

KAP,Dude and others
I’ll bet those unemployed bank tellers,real estate salesmen,school teachers and civil engineers just can’t wait to pick lettuce and carry hods! That’ll work.

Obviously the problem is that the Dems keep passing unemployment extensions etc. What we really need is to beat down American workers enough that they will take any job for any pay. I’m talking,eat your dog kind of hunger. Then we can beat up a bunch of Mexicans and really close the border. Then the economy will be just great.

Posted by: bills at January 10, 2010 5:48 AM
Comment #293546

bills
Why do you think companys want to get rid of unions? Just look at the auto industiy for one. I’m not saying it is all the fault of union workers, but they are a contributing factor. It is the GREED that came over this country that is bringing it down from the CEO’s to the floor sweepers everyone wanting to be millionares. Nobody satisfied with what they got. It’s to much GREED that is bringing us down. Hiring undocumenteds is not the answer.

Posted by: KAP at January 10, 2010 10:11 AM
Comment #293585

bills, I watched the authors on a panel on C-Span respond to inquiries. Their focus, as I indicated, was very narrow, in terms of the variables they considered. It is sound research, IF, I say again, IF one accepts their microcosm of finite variables which exclude historical trend data correlations with population growth generally and for the labor pool in relation to consumption capacity of dollar earned. Real wages have been declining on average for the vast majority of American workers for the last 4 decades or so.

Their summary results contradict reality. Therefore, their results are specious. And the sponsoring organization for the research has a leftist political lean. Which means, it is in their interest to come up with results that support amnesty and incorporation of up to 16 million new Democratic Party voters, representing 4 out of 5 current illegal aliens in the country.

This same reasoning and analysis applied to Republican research doesn’t seem to raise such defenses in your commentary. (i.e. questioning the agenda of the research’s sponsoring organization and extrapolating the research results to the real world for comparison and efficacy.) Funny, how that works.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 11, 2010 1:19 PM
Comment #293654

KAP,

You are quite correct about the unions. Greed, which is the dominant motive for all corporations, and incorporated Unions are no different. They need to be regulated, just like for profit corporations, since Greed, especially amongst the Union’s corporate leadership, is their ticket to reelection. Union leaders too often combine the worst motives of both politicians and CEO’s. The more they get their members, the better their chance of reelection. The more they can divide the membership from the employer, the more they can justify higher compensation for themselves, out of union dues.

Unions are necessary! Unregulated unions are inherently self-destructive in the same way corporations are. They will put today’s greed for more above sustainable long-term employment and benefits which also sustain the corporate enterprise, nearly every time.

Any union member or board of directors hiring a leader who does NOT demonstrate complete understanding and acceptance of Adam Smith’s discussions of “enlightened self-interest” will be sowing the seeds of self-destruction.

Enlightened self-interest will put off today’s potential gains, when necessary, in order to insure the longevity and health of their enterprise, their community, and their nation, upon which their enterprise so intimately depends. The financial industry destroyed the economy upon which it depends for financial health and continued operations. Except for the government, the bulk of those corporations would have been dissolved or parcelled off to discount buyers, at a horrendous cost to the economy and laborers throughout the society. The financial industry has no comprehension of what Adam Smith is talking about when referencing enlightened self-interest. Neither did the UAW when it rendered through its gains, the Big 3 unable to compete on pricing with foreign auto manufacturers, though the Big 3 made other enormous mistakes as well.

Democrats need to understand this, but so far, refuse to, that Unions are corporations and act like corporations, and hence, need to be regulated like corporations, to include executive compensation regulation. It is the rank and file that lose ultimately when their leadership destroys goose that lays those golden jobs, as so many now are acutely aware.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 12, 2010 1:06 PM
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