Fixing the Economy Means Fixing Immigration
by The Opportunity Agenda, Fri Feb 05, 2010 at 01:54:57 PM EST
During the past week, much has been made of President Obama’s 38-word mention of immigration during his State of the Union address. Understandably, some advocates were disappointed that immigration reform did not get nearly as much air time as the rebuilding the economy – the perception being that this administration will address the latter before the former. But even though the economy is likely to be the dominant political topic in 2010, there are avenues that reform advocates can take to inject immigration into that conversation.
Last month, the Immigration Policy Center together with the Center for American Progress released a study finding that legalizing the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States would add $1.5 trillion to the GDP over 10 years. In December, a coalition of House lawmakers said that immigration reform could actually protect American workers, raising the floor for wages across the country. And research conducted in Texas and California found that immigrants add far more to the economy than they take out.
If Congress and President Obama are going to turn the economy around, they will need to consider all sensible solutions. Fixing the nation’s broken immigration system is indeed the right thing to do; but if lawmakers are too wary of the subject to address it on moral grounds, advocates need to capitalize on the sense of urgency that surrounds the economy. The more they see immigration reform as an economic solution, the more likely it is that the country will see real change on either issue sooner rather than later.
Read more at The Opportunity Agenda website.