Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement by the members of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Immigration Task Force about recent estimates on the costs of legalizing the current undocumented population:
“A defining attribute of this country is our tradition of welcoming aspiring foreigners who come to this land of opportunity with skill, determination and a willingness to embrace our values. We all benefit from these immigrants’ passion for bettering their circumstances and those of their children.
“Recent reports have claimed that legalizing the current undocumented population, as proposed by the Senate Gang of Eight, will cost our country $6.3 trillion. We strongly believe that this study’s modeling and assumptions are fundamentally flawed because they do not account for the many contributions that an appropriately reformed immigration system can afford our economy and our country.
“Immigrants contribute profoundly to our society, be they first generation entrepreneurs or essential low-skilled workers. Highly-educated immigrants create jobs for Americans, while a measured influx of lesser-skilled workers assures that essential jobs in agriculture and other areas will be performed. Secondary effects of an appropriately reformed and responsive immigration system will include growing our housing market, strengthening our financial system, and supporting our social safety programs. When public discourse focuses solely on potential costs of reform, we lose sight of key economic benefits of a smarter immigration policy. These newest members of our communities are future consumers, home-buyers, doctors and teachers. They start a disproportionate number of new businesses, employing hundreds of thousands of workers and contributing billions to the economy. Newly legalized immigrants would further expand the economy and our tax base, particularly after earning full access to the institutions that helped make America the world’s greatest mobilizer of human potential.
“If implemented smartly to grow our economy while protecting our borders, immigration reform will benefit all Americans.”
BPC’s Immigration Task Force Co-Chairs:
- Former Governor Haley Barbour
- Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros
- Former Governor Ed Rendell
- Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Task Force Members:
- Former Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA)
- Al Cardenas, chair of the American Conservatives Union
- John Chen, former chairman, chief executive officer and president of Sybase
- Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff
- Eliseo Medina, International Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union
- John Rowe, former chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Exelon Corporation
- Former Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ)
- Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis