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5 Reasons the U.S. Needs an Immigration Amnesty Plan

Immigration is a hot-button issue, to be sure. But at the end of the day, the dollars and cents of immigration reform — sometimes called “amnesty” — mean that it would benefit everyone to pass meaningful changes to the system in the interest of economic growth.

The details of border security are important to some, and the “path to citizenship” idea is anathema to others who see reforms as a reward to those who got here illegally. These are fair points of debate, yes, but at the end of the day I believe the economic benefits tip the scales clearly in favor of reform despite other concerns.

Here are five reasons why:

Immigration Saves Social Security: Even the conservative editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal call immigration reform “A $4.6 Trillion Opportunity,” and state that “higher post-reform levels of immigration would mean an extra $600 billion into the [Social Security] trust fund to about $4.6 trillion over 75 years.” Critics warn of the drag on government programs, but creating a system that causes them to pay into the tax coffers prevents them from being a drag on the system — and helps fix the demographic problem of too many older retirees and not enough workers to support them via Social Security taxes.

Immigration Grows U.S. GDP: The Congressional Budget Office estimates the current Senate immigration reform bill will increase real GDP relative to current projections by 3.3% in 2023 and 5.4% in 2033 — adding roughly $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033 in today’s dollars. That’s a lot of productivity.

Immigration Doesn’t Steal Jobs: According to a 2010 report by the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan group focused on immigration and emigration trends worldwide, “there is only very limited evidence of crowding-out of natives in the workforce by immigrants. In the short run (one to two years) the results imply a small negative effect on native employment, but the estimates are not significantly different from zero.”

Immigration Actually Makes Natives Wealthier: Furthermore, in addition to having a neutral short-term affect, it’s actually good for native workers over time. MPI states that “immigration has a positive long-run effect on the average income of native workers” and that over 10 years “a net inflow of immigrants equal to 1 percent of employment increase income per worker by 0.26 percent.”

It’s the Right Thing to Do: We are a nation of immigrants and a plural society. That’s why America is great. While it’s uncomfortable for some white males to think of themselves as part of a declining demographic group that will ultimately lose political and cultural influence … it’s a reality whether we pass immigration or not.

Let’s send the right message by forging a future that works for everyone rather than just clinging to the models of decades and centuries past. As former President George W. Bush said recently, “I hope, during the debate, we keep a benevolent spirit in mind, and we understand the contributions immigrants make to our country.”

We can and should debate various parts of this bill, and if the House has tweaks, that’s fine by me. But failure or obstructionism due to politicking is a bad result for the economy — regardless of what you think about immigrants and immigration.

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Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of “The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks.” Write him at editor@investorplace.com or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP.

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Comments
  • tuishou

    we are indeed a nation of immigrants- legal ones. As 11 million illegal aliens get into the country ahead of honest foreigners who have been waiting in the lines? We get whatever fugitive from justice, whatever derelict pervert and whatever chronically ill individual has sneaked across the border knowing the conditions for their escape from home will bring them.
    Having married into a lower end Mexican family allows me to bear witness to the facts that the examples above are all so expensively true. Save social security? It is to laugh; once the 11 million make it in? They will be anchors for their aged parents and kin that will now come in. The Mexican medical community describes these ageing individuals as “Medical TIME BOMBS” as their poverty has not allowed them proper nutrition or preventative medical care for such hereditary illnesses as diabetes. Edward Abbey once said that what needs done is to give each illegal a gun and a box of ammo and send them home to deal with the real source of the injustice visited upon them- the rich controlling their oppressive government. Take it from one who knows the depth and reality of this problem. The oppressors are not the US people.

    • biscuitsngravy

      Great post! Thanks for your interesting perspective on this vital issue. God Bless.

  • biscuitsngravy

    This all may or may not be good reasons for amnesty, but well written. This sounds like the Chamber of Commerce ‘slant’ on the issue.

  • feedup

    We need educated immigrants who are productive and pay their own way.
    Not these scabs who sneak accross the border and produce illegitmate
    bastards,collect food stamps, welfare,free education,housing subsidies,
    free medical while the rest of us legal natives pay for them. They work as
    landscapers, cleaners etc. A couple can make at least $1000/week and
    not pay any taxes and still get all the freebies.

  • Jaques

    F*CK YOU! As a LEGAL immigrant… I despise the entire premise.