White House: Immigration reform would net economy $700M in 10 years

As the House approaches adjourning for the month of August without passing an immigration bill, the White House is applying pressure by releasing a report detailing the economic benefits of immigration reform.

It’s releasing a report today touting the economic benefits of such reform, saying that if the House adopted legislation similar to the bill that passed the Senate in June, it would increase the national Gross Domestic Product by 3.3 percent in 2023 and 5.4 percent in 2033 – a move that would increase the size of the economy by roughly $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033. The White House cited Congressional Budget Office estimates in making that conclusion.

The White House report also found that immigration reforms akin to the Senate bill would boost Ohio’s economic output by $938 million and create some 10,960 jobs in 2014.

The White House argues that immigration reform would increase workers’ income, resulting in new state and local tax revenue. It uses statistics by Regional Economic Models Inc., to conclude that immigration reform would increase total personal income for Ohio families by $1.4 billion in 2020.

And they say immigration reform would have increased state and local taxes paid by immigrants in Ohio by some $22 million in 2010.

“It’s very clear from a variety of independent sources that it’s the economic right thing to do,” said Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council.

The House will go into a five-week recess at the end of this week and isn’t likely to take up a bill until September at the very earliest.

But critics say it’s hard to predict what economic impact immigration reform would have.

Ira Mehlmann, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization that seeks to reduce the levels of immigrants in this country, said while more legal citizens would likely result in more tax revenue, it would also “likely increase a lot of costs.”

“For the most part people who are in this country illegally are earning a very low wage not just because they’re here illegally but they have poor job skills,” he said. “The only thing that would change is that they would have legal status. They’d still be earning low wages.”

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