Our VoiceCulture

CROSS-POST: National and State-by-State Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform

Imagine 2050 Staff • May 18, 2013

By Robert Lynch and Paul Oakford for Center for American Progress | Originally posted on May 17, 2013

On April 16, 2013, the Senate’s “Gang of 8”—a bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators—filed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. At the core of the bill is a provision that will provide a pathway to earned legalization and citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America.

The pathway to citizenship for these aspiring Americans will be neither short nor easy. Under the provisions of the bill, most undocumented immigrants will have to wait 10 years before they can apply for legal permanent residency—a green card. In addition, most will not be eligible for citizenship until at least 13 years after the bill is enacted.

Despite this long process, there are significant economic benefits to the U.S. economy and to all Americans when unauthorized immigrants acquire provisional legal status. Our prior research in a Center for American Progress report, “Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants,” showed that legalization and citizenship bring large economic benefits to the nation as a whole. But as this brief will show, the economies of each state also stand to gain large benefits if immigrants are put on a path to legal status and citizenship. In this follow-up issue brief, we break down the economic gains for 24 individual states.

Both the acquisition of legal status and citizenship enable undocumented immigrants to produce and earn significantly more. These resulting productivity and wage gains ripple through the economy because immigrants are not just workers—they are also taxpayers and consumers. They pay taxes on their higher wages and they spend their increased earnings on the purchase of goods and services including food, clothing, and homes. This increased consumption boosts business sales, expands the economy, generates new jobs, and increases the earnings of all Americans.

Each state will experience significant economic growth as well. In this follow-up to the “Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants,” we begin by recapping the national gains. We then provide estimates of the economic benefits for 24 states if their undocumented populations were legalized. Specifically, we estimate the increases over 10 years in gross state product, or GSP, as well as earnings, taxes, and jobs for these states if the Senate Gang of 8’s bill is enacted in 2013. We also explain why immigration reform is responsible for these specific economic benefits. The methodology for this brief relies upon estimates of the undocumented population in each state and replicates the methodology used in our previous report.

To read more on this report, click here.

Imagine 2050 Newsletter

  • translate

    English • Afrikaans • العربية • Беларуская • Български • Català • Česky • Cymraeg • Dansk • Deutsch • Eesti • Ελληνικά • Español • فارسی • Français • Gaeilge • Galego • हिन्दी • Hrvatski • Bahasa Indonesia • Íslenska • Italiano • עברית • Latviešu • Lietuvių • 한국어 • Magyar • Македонски • മലയാളം • Malti • Nederlands • 日本語 • Norsk (Bokmål) • Polski • Português • Română • Русский • Slovenčina • Slovenščina • Shqip • Srpski • Suomi • Svenska • Kiswahili • ไทย • Tagalog • Türkçe • Українська • Tiếng Việt • ייִדיש. • 中文 / 漢語