Policy uncertainty remains key concern of America’s immigrant community

Immigration has been a perennially in-focus topic amongst Washington’s lawmakers, but recent changes and discussion regarding the nation’s policy have been cited as the key cause of concern amongst newly-arrived migrants.

Research on the economic effects of undocumented immigrants is scant but existing peer-reviewed studies suggest that the effects are positive for the native population and public coffers A 2015 study shows that “increasing deportation rates and tightening border control weakens low-skilled labor markets, increasing unemployment of native low-skilled workers.

Legalization, instead, decreases the unemployment rate of low-skilled natives and increases income per native.” Studies show that legalization of undocumented immigrants would boost the U.S. economy; a 2013 study found that granting legal status to undocumented immigrants would raise their incomes by a quarter (increasing U.S. GDP by approximately $1.4 trillion over a ten-year period), and 2016 study found that “legalization would increase the economic contribution of the unauthorized population by about 20%, to 3.6% of private-sector GDP.”

A 2007 report by the Congressional Budget Office found that estimating the fiscal effects of undocumented immigrants has proven difficult: “currently available estimates have significant limitations; therefore, using them to determine an aggregate effect across all states would be difficult and prone to considerable error”.

The impact of undocumented immigrants differs on federal levels than state and local levels, with research suggesting modest fiscal costs at the state and local levels but with substantial fiscal gains at the federal level.

In 2009, a study by the Cato Institute, a free market think tank, found that legalization of low-skilled illegal resident workers in the US would result in a net increase in US GDP of $180 billion over ten years.

The typical immigrant and his children will pay a net $80,000 more in their lifetime than they collect in government services according to the NAS. Legal immigration policy is set to maximize net taxation. Illegal immigrants even after an amnesty tend to be recipients of more services than they pay in taxes.