With S.744, otherwise known as the comprehensive immigration reform bill, recently sent to the Senate floor, much discussion will surround the economics of such sweeping legislation. After receiving a 13-5 affirmative vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee, it appears that the Senate is poised to pass this legislation. Things in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives may not go as smoothly, though. Perhaps House members need to understand what the country’s top economists already do.
Immigration reform contributes to the overall economic vitality of our country. This sentiment has been echoed recently by 111 of the leading conservative economists in the U.S. In a recent letter sent to Congressional leaders, they were quoted as saying, “Immigration reform’s positive impact on population growth, labor force growth, housing and other markets will lead to more rapid economic growth. This, in turn, translates into a positive impact on the federal budget.”
Other economic scholars agree. There is data that shows that immigrants contribute to the nation’s economy as workers, consumers and taxpayers. In fact recent research suggests that immigrants play a vital role in filling niches in the labor market and make substantial contributions to innovation and business creation. According to economics professor Madeline Zavodny, “Recent research provides compelling evidence that high-skilled immigrants play an important role in innovation. Highly educated immigrants earn patents at more than twice the rate of highly educated natives. … [and] they create businesses at higher rates than U.S. natives.” It more than a win-win, it makes economic sense. Let’s hope the House of Representatives agrees when it goes to vote this summer.