A White House report released today makes the case that immigration reform significantly improves the economy. (Rex Features via AP Images)

White House report: immigration reform significantly boosts economy

On the same day that House Republicans meet to discuss immigration, the Obama administration has released a report touting significant economic benefits if the recently passed immigration bill became law.

The report, The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System, projects that the legislation would add about $700 billion in 2023 and $1.3 trillion in 2033  in today’s dollars to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  This report outlines how a larger labor force would result in higher productivity and investment , and it argues the Senate immigration bill would strengthen the technology, tourism, hospitality, agriculture, and housing industries. Because of increased productivity, real wages are expected to be 0.5 percent higher in 2033 – the equivalent to an additional $250 of income for the average American

At the same time, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office immigration reform would reduce the federal budget deficit by nearly $850 billion over the next 20 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and would add nearly $300 billion to the Social Security Trust Fund over the next decade, as well as improve the finances in the long run.

The report also outlines one reason productivity would increase – bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows and into the legal economy would  help  stop practices that undercut wages and worsen working conditions.  Reform would also boost the labor force by 3.5 percent in 2023 and 5 percent by 2033, according to projections.

Apart from making the case for legalizing the nation’s undocumented, the report gives examples of the advantages of expanding legal immigration and facilitating the visa process for those who wish to start businesses here.  Expanding an EB-5 immigrant investor program that grants permanent resident status to foreigners who invest above a certain amount, for example, has already resulted in at least $6.8 billion of capital into the U.S. and the creation of almost 49,000 jobs up to the end of 2012.

The report also points out that immigrants already in the U.S. make a case for immigration’s economic benefits: a 2007 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute found that immigrant-owned small businesses generated about $776 billion in receipts and employed about 4.7 million people.

The Administration also argues that the fees generated through visa and legalization programs would benefit the larger workforce. For example, the Senate immigration bill establishes a new $1.5 billion Youth Jobs Fund for low-income young Americans between the ages of 16 to 25 and would help expand training for STEM professions.

The report was drafted by the President’s National Economic Council, Domestic Policy Council, Office of Management and Budget, and the Council of Economic Advisers.

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