What’s The Cost Of Congress Not Passing Immigration Reform?

How much will it cost us, in money and in lives, if Congress doesn’t pass immigration reform with a pathway to Citizenship?

1. We have spent a ton of money on Border Patrol – and it hasn’t fixed the problem.

The “Enforcement Only” approach has failed: The budget of the U.S. Border Patrol has increased tenfold since 1993, but at the same time, the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has tripled.

2. Tens of thousands of families have been torn apart by deportations.

Between 1998 and 2007, 108,434 immigrants with U.S.-citizen children were removed from the country. The majority were removed for civil immigration violations – not criminal offenses. That number will grow as deportations continue.

3. We have already missed out on an opportunity that would have been hugely beneficial to our economy.

If the federal government had already created a program to allow the undocumented immigrants now in the country to become legalized, the U.S. economy would have received a much-needed boost: more tax revenue, more consumer buying power, and more jobs.

4. In other words, without improving the U.S. immigration system, we are passing up on this:

The higher earning power of legalized immigrants would lead to an increase in net personal income of $30 to $36 billion. That would generate up to $5.4 billion in taxes in the first three years alone.

5. But with immigration reform, more people could be working:

Because legalization would lead to undocumented immigrants earning higher wages, it would increase their consumer spending. That spending would support up to 900,000 jobs.

6. Yes, hundreds of thousands of jobs:

From Virginia and Florida to Colorado and Arizona, estimates show that the fiscal benefits from immigration reform would lead to thousands of jobs. In Texas alone, the state could see 193,000 additional jobs.

7. But we’re not getting these economic benefits right now, which should make us feel like this:

Without immigration reform, the state of California alone is missing out of an additional $1.4 billion in income taxes that undocumented Latino workers would be paying each year if they were granted legal status.

8. In other words, we can’t keep losing out on the huge benefits of immigration reform:

As Congress continues to ponder the possibility of enacting immigration reform legislation, the broken machinery of the U.S. immigration system continues to drain the federal budget and undermine the economy. But this cannot go on forever. The cost of doing nothing is too great.

9. Read more about why immigration reform can’t wait in the Immigration Policy Center’s report, “The Cost of Doing Nothing.”

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