CBO Report: Immigration Reform Will Shrink the Deficit and Grow the Economy
June 18, 2013 8:30 PM EDT Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Alan Krueger, Gene Sperling
Today, the independent Congressional Budget Office released its score of the Senate’sbipartisan immigration bill, providing even more evidence that commonsense immigration reform is good for the budget and good for economic growth.
CBO estimates that fixing our broken immigration system will reduce federal deficits by about $200 billion over the next 10 years, and about $700 billion in the second decade. The CBO analysis made clear that the additional taxes paid by new and legalizing immigrants would not only offset any new spending, but would be substantial enough to reduce the deficit over the 20-year window. A significant portion of the new taxes would be paid by previously undocumented immigrants. While many of these workers already pay federal taxes, millions more will pay payroll taxes once they are able to obtain legal status and work above board.
CBO also found that commonsense immigration reform will increase real GDP by 3.3% in 2023, and 5.4% in 2033, a real increase of roughly $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033, due to higher labor force participation, increased capital investment, and increased productivity resulting from “technological advancements, such as new innovations and improvements in the production process.”
CBO’s score follows other recent independent analyses which underscore that passing commonsense immigration reform is also one of the best, and often overlooked, ways to strengthen the solvency of the Social Security trust fund.
Commonsense Immigration Reform Will Strengthen Social Security
July 01, 2013 Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Alan Krueger, Cecilia Muñoz and Gene Sperling
On Friday, we got even more proof of the high costs of inaction on bipartisan commonsense immigration reform.
In a letter to Senator Rubio released on Friday, the independent Social Security Office of the Chief Actuary provided a long-term analysis of the bipartisan Senate-passed Immigration Reform bill, demonstrating that commonsense immigration reform will strengthen Social Security over the long-term. Reform will ensure full Social Security solvency through 2035 and reduce Social Security unfunded liabilities by nearly half a trillion dollars through 2087.
The Social Security long-term report follows the recent analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that showed commonsense immigration reform is good for the budget and good for economic growth. The new Social Security report confirms that the bipartisan Senate-passed Immigration Reform Bill is also good for Social Security. The Senate-passed bill will strengthen the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund in the short run and the long run by reforming the legal immigration system and by allowing undocumented workers to work above-board and thus ensuring that they pay payroll taxes.
The Actuary’s long-term report confirms that the net effect of the bipartisan Senate-passed Immigration Reform Bill is to strengthen Social Security solvency. The Actuary found that the Senate-passed immigration reform bill will keep the Social Security Trust Fund fully solvent through 2035. (Without reform, the Social Security Actuary and Trustees expect the Social Security Trust Fund to be depleted by 2033.) The Chief Actuary notes that, “Even after depletion of the trust fund reserves, however, the actuarial status of the program is improved because continuing income would be sufficient to pay a higher percentage of scheduled benefits than under current law.” In fact, the Senate-passed bill will reduce the 75-year Social Security shortfall by nearly half a trillion dollars, in present value terms.
June 11, 2013
Remarks by the President on Immigration Reform
10:38 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the White House. It is a pleasure to have so many distinguished Americans today from so many different walks of life. We’ve got Democrats and Republicans; we’ve got labor and business leaders up on stage; we have law enforcement and clergy — Americans who don’t see eye-to-eye on every issue, in fact, in some cases, don’t see eye-to-eye on just about any issue — (laughter) — but who are today standing united in support of the legislation that is front and center in Congress this week — a bipartisan bill to fix our broken immigration system.
And I have to say — please give Tolu another round of applause. (Applause.) It takes a lot of courage to do what Tolu did — to step out of the shadows, to share her story, and to hope that, despite the risks, she could make a difference. But Tolu I think is representative of so many DREAMers out there who have worked so hard — and I’ve had a chance to meet so many of them who’ve been willing to give a face to the undocumented and have inspired a movement across America. And with each step, they’ve reminded us — time and again — what this debate is all about. This is not an abstract debate. This is about incredible young people who understand themselves to be Americans, who have done everything right but have still been hampered in achieving their American Dream.
And they remind us that we’re a nation of immigrants. Throughout our history, the promise we found in those who come from every corner of the globe has always been one of our greatest strengths. It’s kept our workforce vibrant and dynamic. It’s kept our businesses on the cutting edge. It’s helped build the greatest economic engine that the world has ever known.
When I speak to other world leaders, one of the biggest advantages we have economically is our demographics. We’re constantly replenishing ourselves with talent from across the globe. No other country can match that history. And what was true years ago is still true today — who’s beeping over there? (Laughter.) You’re feeling kind of self-conscious, aren’t you? (Laughter.) It’s okay.
In recent years, one in four of America’s new small business owners were immigrants. One in four high-tech startups in America were founded by immigrants. Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by a first- or second-generation American. Think about that — almost half of the Fortune 500 companies when they were started were started by first- or second-generation immigrants. So immigration isn’t just part of our national character. It is a driving force in our economy that creates jobs and prosperity for all of our citizens.
Now, here’s the thing. Over the past two decades, our immigration system hasn’t kept pace with changing times and hasn’t matched up with our most cherished values.
Right now, our immigration system invites the best and the brightest from all over the world to come and study at our top universities, and then once they finish — once they’ve gotten the training they need to build a new invention or create a new business — our system too often tells them to go back home so that other countries can reap the benefits, the new jobs, the new businesses, the new industries. That’s not smart. But that’s the broken system we have today.
Right now, our immigration system keeps families apart for years at a time. Even for folks who, technically, under the legal immigration system, should be eligible to become citizens but it is so long and so cumbersome, so byzantine, that families end up being separated for years. Because of a backlog in visas, people who come here legally — who are ready to give it their all to earn their place in America — end up waiting for years to join their loved ones here in the United States. It’s not right. But that’s the broken system we have today.
Right now, our immigration system has no credible way of dealing with the 11 million men and women who are in this country illegally. And, yes, they broke the rules; they didn’t wait their turn. They shouldn’t be let off easy. They shouldn’t be allowed to game the system. But at the same time, the vast majority of these individuals aren’t looking for any trouble. They’re just looking to provide for their families, contribute to their communities.
They’re our neighbors. We know their kids. Too often, they’re forced to do what they do in a shadow economy where shady employers can exploit them by paying less than the minimum wage, making them work without overtime, not giving them any benefits. That pushes down standards for all workers. It’s bad for everybody. Because all the businesses that do play by the rules, that hire people legally, that pay them fairly — they’re at a competitive disadvantage. American workers end up being at a competitive disadvantage. It’s not fair. But that’s the broken system that we have today.
Now, over the past four years, we’ve tried to patch up some of the worst cracks in the system. We made border security a top priority. Today, we have twice as many border patrol agents as we did in 2004. We have more boots on the ground along our southern border than at any time in our history. And in part, by using technology more effectively, illegal crossings are near their lowest level in decades.
We focused our enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally and who are endangering our communities. And today, deportation of criminals is at its highest level ever.
And having put border security in place, having refocused on those who could do our communities harm, we also then took up the cause of the DREAMers, young people like Tolu who were brought to this country as children. We said that if you’re able to meet some basic criteria, like pursuing a higher education, then we’ll consider offering you the chance to come out of the shadows so you can continue to work here, and study here, and contribute to our communities legally.
So my administration has done what we can on our own. And we’ve got members of my administration here who’ve done outstanding work over the past few years to try to close up some of the gaps that exist in the system. But the system is still broken. And to truly deal with this issue, Congress needs to act. And that moment is now.
June 15, 2013
Statement by the Press Secretary on the First Anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process
A year ago today, the Administration took up the cause of “Dreamers” and took action to make our immigration system more representative of our values as a nation. By removing the threat of deportation for people brought to the country as children, we were able to continue to focus our enforcement efforts on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are pursuing an education.
These young men and women are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every way but on paper. And because the Administration acted, today thousands of ambitious, hardworking young people have been able to emerge from the shadows, no longer living in fear of deportation. But the steps we took were never meant to be a permanent solution. That’s why we need Congress to pass a bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform bill as soon as possible so that these “Dreamers” can keep contributing to this country and help us live up to our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
UPDATE: Republican leaders to block US immigration measure
5/16/14 Associated Press By ERICA WERNER and DONNA CASSATA
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders intervened Friday to prevent a vote on U.S. immigration legislation, dealing a severe blow to election-year efforts to overhaul the widely denigrated system.
The move came after a Republican congressman announced plans to try to force a vote next week, over strong conservative opposition, on his measure creating a path to citizenship for immigrants who live here illegally yet serve in the military.
In response, Doug Heye, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, said: “No proposed ENLIST amendments to NDAA will be made in order.”
Heye said no stand-alone vote on the measure would be permitted, either.
It was the latest setback for President Barack Obama’s efforts to move comprehensive immigration legislation through Congress to boost border security, remake legal worker programs and offer legal status to the estimated 11.5 million people now living here illegally. The Senate passed an immigration bill last year, but it’s been stalled in the Republican-led House.
Friday’s developments seemed to all but rule out anything happening on the issue this year in the House, if even Denham’s limited measure could not advance. Despite a wide coalition of business, labor, religious groups, farmers and others pushing for an immigration overhaul, many individual Republican House members who represent largely white districts have been unmoved.
Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders have insisted they want to advance immigration legislation, though they’ve rejected the Senate’s comprehensive bill. Chances have always looked slim, but the White House and outside advocates saw a window for action over the next several months, before Congress’ August recess and November midterm elections.
Denham’s measure was widely popular and seen as perhaps the likeliest area for compromise.
But in recent weeks prominent conservative groups, including the Heritage Foundation, announced their opposition. Heritage Action, the group’s political arm, announced it would include the vote in its ratings on lawmakers and called Denham’s legislation “deplorable.”
Cantor himself faces a primary election challenge in the state of Virginia June 10 from a tea party opponent who has criticized the majority leader for not being conservative enough and accused him of supporting amnesty for immigrants living here illegally.