Conservatives say that expanded immigration will boost the economy

Expanded immigration could decrease the federal deficit by $2.5 trillion, according to a recent report from the American Action Forum. The Wall Street Journal announced that the American Action Forum, a conservative think tank, released an analysis on April 9 projecting that an overhaul of immigration laws could boost gross domestic product (GDP) growth. The American Action Forum predicted that large-scale immigration would raise per-capita income by $1,700 after 10 years. Similarly, in a report released by the Center for Immigration Studies, a review by George Borjas concludes that immigration makes the U.S. economy significantly larger.

However, while the American Action Forum noted that a faster growth of immigrants will boost the economy, Borjas’ report wants to halve the annual inflow of roughly 1 million immigrants and 700,000 visa workers.

To calculate how the expansion of immigration would raise GDP growth, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, economist for the American Action Forum, used census estimates. He calculated that a bill expanding immigration would raise GDP growth from an average of 3 percent annually to 3.9 percent over the course of 10 years.

“The upshot is that GDP after 10 years would be higher- a difference of $64,700 per capita versus $62,900 per capita,” Holtz-Eakin wrote in the analysis. “This higher per-capita income of $1,700 after ten years is a core benefit of immigration reform.”

A report from the Center for American Progress released in March suggested that authorizing an immediate path to citizenship for the United States’ estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants would add as much as $1.4 trillion to the country’s economic growth, create more than 200,000 jobs, and increase tax revenue by more than $180 billion over the next decade. The report also said that undocumented immigrants pay less in taxes than they would if they were citizens, so granting them this citizenship would bring in additional revenue and boost the economy because immigrants would spend more.