Added by on 2013-09-13

Congress: Don’t wobble now on immigration reform. The money’s just too good.

2 reasons why I’m not giving up on immigration reform moving this year and you shouldn’t either.

1. We’re not at the starting line. This is the tail end of the race.

It can take years to get a bill passed in Congress and it’s taken years to get the broad national buy-in for comprehensive reform that we have now. There’s no such thing as a perfect bill and to ignore legislation that’s already made it out of one of the Houses of Congress is hubris.

Backing off now when we’re so close won’t just take the air out of the momentum we have to get something done, it will also, almost certainly, guarantee that it will be years before Congress takes up the issue again. Some are even speculating it wouldn’t resurface until 2017. As a global leader in an increasingly competitive environment, the U.S. can not afford to wait. Syria, the Fed, and the debt ceiling are all crucial to address but waiting four more years to fix a mission-critical but deeply flawed system when there’s national support now, is poor management.

2. The MONEY, honey.

This fall, the U.S. will face more fiscal cliffs, debt ceilings discussions and potential costly government shutdowns. And yet, talk of the fiscal benefits of immigration reform remains scarce. Taken from a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate bill, here’s my list of…ECONOMIC FACTS THAT TIP THE SCALES FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

(Look out, the last one’s a doozy).

The bill that’s passed the Senate would:

  • · Boost U.S. GDP by 3.3% in 2023 and by 5.4% in 2033;
  • · By 2025, it would raise average wages across the wage distribution. That is, low-, medium-, and high-skilled workers would all see higher average wages as a result of the bill by 2033 (a distinct departure from the current trend of increasing wage disparity);
  • · Generate higher tax revenues that would more than offset higher spending;
  • · Improve Social Security’s short- and long-term solvency;
  • · Not increase the unemployment rate over the longer run; AND
  • · Reduce the total deficit by $158 billion in the first decade, and by about $685 billion over the second decade.

Immigration reform’s impact on the deficit should not be a periphery issue. The House will take up the issue in October. I challenge you to hold your Congressmen’s feet to the fire until then and insist deficit and debt-ceiling discussions include immigration reform as a much-needed elixir.

The Good & Bad Side of Immigration Reform


If you don’t already know who your Congressperson is, I’d be happy to help you. Just shoot me a message at @ErikaSumner.

For more data from the Congressional Budget Office report analysis

Infographic of the Senate bill’s contents