Contrary to what the anti-immigrant crowd says, immigrants actually create jobs, raise wages, and provide a wider tax base for the government. Our friends at the Center for American Progress debunk some common myths about immigrants’ role in the economy.

A little boy holds up an American flag

 

Anyone who has  followed the immigration debate at all has heard the often unsubstantiated claim that undocumented immigrants are bad for the economy. “They take American jobs!” or “They don’t pay taxes!” are trite slogans that are repeated often at anti-immigration rallies, web sites, in interviews, and so on. The truth of the matter is that undocumented immigrants contribute significantly to the American economy, not only in the taxes they pay and the products they buy, but also in how they help raise the total wages for all workers and contribute to states’ gross product.

Our friends at The Center for American Progress researched how undocumented Americans fit into the American economy, and produced this great series of infographics showcasing some of their findings. The lesson from the research is obvious: undocumented workers account for a significant portion of the labor force in some states, strengthen local economies, and are an under-utilized source of tax revenue.

Some of the highlights:

    • If the Jan Brewers and Kris Kobachs of the world were to succeed and actually deport 100% of all undocumented immigrants…
      • By deporting all of its 1.65 million undocumented people,Texas would experience a loss of $77.7 billion dollars in gross state product (GSP), and total wages across the board would drop by $33.2 billion. Texas would also forfeit $14.5 billion of its current tax revenue.
      • Virginia would lose $9.68 billion in GSP, $5.2 billion in total wages, and take a $1.74 billion hit to its current tax revenue
      • Arizona would lose $13.3 billion in GSP, $6.25 billion in total wages, and $2.4 billion in current tax revenue by forcing it’s undocumented people to “self-deport.”
      • Florida would deport $31.22 billion in GSP, $15.45 billion in total wages, and $5.67 billion dollars in current tax revenue along with it’s 825,000 undocumented residents.

 

  • However,creating a path to legal residency and eventual citizenship would allow millions of undocumented people to pay the same taxes that citizens and green-card holders pay, purchase property, and continue to contribute as they have been to the american economy but on a greater scale. By creating a path for legalization for 100% of all undocumented immigrants…
    • Florida would gain $3.8 billion in wages, $1.13 billion in taxes and would create 97,000 more jobs.
    • Arizona would increase total wages by $1.8 billion, tax revenue by $540 million, and add 39,000 jobs.
    • Virginia would experience a raise in total wages of $1.2 billion, $371 million dollars in tax revenue, and enjoy 27,000 new jobs.
    • Texas stands to gain $9.7 billion in wages, $4.1 billion in tax revenue, and 193,000 in new jobs.

 

In summation, it seems that contrary to what the anti-immigrant crowd says, immigrants actually create jobs, raise wages, and provide a wider tax base for the government. If our legislators on both sides of the aisle are serious about solving the debt crisis, then they should create a road map for residency and citizenship for undocumented Americans. Doing so will strengthen this country in more ways than one.