States would lose millions of dollars—money they don’t have—implementing their own anti-immigration laws, and the national immigration system would be more broken than ever. We can’t restore control and order to the immigration laws with a patchwork of fifty policies in fifty states.
Studies show that even at the federal level, immigration crackdowns are extremely expensive. In fact, the only fiscally responsible, practical, and lasting solution would be enactment of comprehensive immigration reform by Congress. Instead of passing state laws to make political statements, these lawmakers should pick up the phone and pressure Congress to do its job.
• Mass deportation is extremely expensive: the government would spend $285 billion over five years...so that the economy can lose $2.5 trillion over ten. A report from the Center of American Progress calculated that the government would need to spend $285 billion in border and interior enforcement in order to deport most of the undocumented immigrants in our country today. Furthermore, as a study for the Immigration Policy Center by UCLA economist Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda found, removing those workers and consumers from the American economy would result in a $2.5 trillion drop in GDP over the next ten years.
• Earned legalization: a $1.5 trillion boost to the economy over ten years... The Hinojosa study also found that legalizing current undocumented immigrants would add $1.5 trillion to U.S. GDP over the next ten years. Both immigrant and U.S.-born workers would see their wages increase.
• ...and $48-66 billion in added tax revenue. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the comprehensive immigration reform bills considered by the Senate in 2006 and 2007 would have generated $66 billion and $48 billion in new tax revenues, respectively. In both cases, legalizing undocumented immigrants in these bills would have paid for itself, as the new revenues far exceeded the costs of implementing the legislation.
HOW TO CALCULATE THE COST OF AN ARIZONA-STYLE BILL IN YOUR STATE
The evidence is mounting that anti-immigrant state laws cost states money, rather than save taxpayer dollars. It is critical that the public know the costs regardless of whether legislators are forthright in providing a credible analysis to the public.
The American Immigration Council and the Immigration Policy Center have developed formulas to help interested parties calculate the costs of these laws to your states:
• Check list for Estimating the Cost of SB 1070-Style Legislation (Immigration Policy Center): http://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/just-facts/checklist-estimating-costs-sb-1070-style-legislation
• Estimates of State and Local Taxes Paid by Unauthorized Immigrants, By State (Immigration Policy Center) http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/unauthorized-immigrants-pay-taxes-too
America’s Voice Education Fund
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