Adding to a growing list of data, the Center for American Progress put out a report today confirming the huge gains we would see to the U.S. economy and to U.S. workers if comprehensive immigration reform passed in 2010. But there is one trick: the immigration bill has to be comprehensive.
The report, Raising the Floor for American Workers looks at the effects on GDP and U.S. wages of three different scenarios--
- passage of a comprehensive reform bill,
- creation of a temporary worker program, and
- a mass deportation of today's 12 million undocumented workers.
If the U.S. Congress were to pass a comprehensive bill this year, it would increase the U.S. GDP at least 0.84 percent annually--amounting to a more than $1.5 trillion boost in GDP over 10 years!
On the other hand, a mass deportation would cost the U.S. a whopping to $2.6 trillion in lost GDP over 10 years! It would also reduce wages for higher skilled native workers and only provide a slight increase in wages for a small group of less-skilled native born workers. And the estimated $2.6 trillion loss in GDP doesn't include the more than $200 billion it is estimated to cost to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants.
The CAP report also looked at the economic ramifications of a temporary worker program--long championed by big business and their allies in Congress. Not surprisingly, a program that mirrors the failed Bracero program of our past--denying basic labor protections for foreign workers and blocking them from permanent residency--would significantly push down wages for native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers. As SEIU and labor groups have long posited, a revolving door of easily exploited, cheap foreign labor brings down wages and living standards for all workers.
Done right, the CAP report confirms, only comprehensive immigration reform will raise standards for all workers, strengthen our economy, and restore the rule of law for the long-term. The CAP report was released today in a press event with author Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda.